Mystery Caterpillar on Gaura,
Nelson Farms Preserve, Katy Prairie Conservancy, Texas.
NABA Butterfly Count, 4 September 2006.
I thought this image was appropriate for the day, given this caterpillar's sporty Hallowe'en stripes.
If you have a high-resolution digitized nature image that you'd like to share with your fellow readers, feel free to email it to me, along with information about the image and how you'd like it to be credited.
Since mailing you this image shortly after Labor Day I have identified this caterpillar: Schinea gaurea, the Clouded Crimson Moth, which uses the White Gaura, Gaura lindheimeri, as a host plant. During the Katy Prairie NABA Butterfly Count on September 4, White Gaura was abundant in the Houston and surrounding areas. There is an interesting article on mimicry in caterpillars from the Journal of Lepidoptery dating to ~1995 noting this species as a mimic of the distasteful Monarch and Black Swallowtail butterflies.