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Spiny Oak Slug

Dude! Dude! Check this guy out!

I’m a Spiny Oak Slug! If you touch me, you will regret it!

Happened to be looking in exactly the right spot while building my swale and went “Wait a minute, that’s not a normal leaf…”

This is Euclea delphinii. He will turn into a brown moth with big green spots on his wings.

While trying to learn more about him, I ran smack into the wall of our vast ignorance. He probably eats oak. Probably. Maybe some other stuff. Nobody’s sure. And I literally cannot tell you if they are as common as dirt or desperately endangered, because their conservation status has never been evaluated. (My guess is that they are reasonably common because—well, obviously, I’m seeing one! And there are plenty of sightings on the various websites about bugs.)

We do know that they sting, and if you put your hand on one, you will need to use scotch tape to extract the spines from your skin. And if you’re very unlucky, you will have an allergic reaction and need to head to the hospital or at least load up on Benadryl.

Still, this kinda thing honestly freaks me out a little. That there are things so common that they are in my garden—and yet, we know almost nothing about them. Do they need to be protected? Can they live in cities? How far do they travel? What all do they eat?

Well, a new one for the yardlist, anyhow. So that’s something.

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.

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How big is he? It's hard to get a feel for scale with that picture.

Very cool, though.

And then Google Image Search came up with pictures showing them about the same size as a diameter of a penny or dime. Nice eyesight, there!

He was a little bigger---that's my glove in the background--but I'd put him at barely an inch long, if that, maybe more like 3/4ths.

That is nudibranch levels of cool!

That is a rather splendid critter.

All the same, I'm quite glad they don't live in my part of the world, as, being a clumsy clot, I'd no doubt lean on one at some point, which wouldn't be any fun for either party.

Gorgeous!! I am always so excited to find new caterpillars, they really come in so many spectacular forms it's beyond impressive!

I'm not usually thrilled by anything with more than four legs, but that is a truly beautiful caterpillar. How lucky you were able to spot and take a picture of it!

He's pretty! If I were a seed-beader, I'd be thinking about how to do him up in beadwork and make a pin out of him. I love the indicolite spine-stripe and the garnet-colored accents.

At least he's not a Buck Moth Caterpillar. Hopefully he doesn't have the habit of falling out of oak trees onto passers-by.

It could be a nudibranch getting a suntan---

I've brushed up against an IO moth caterpillar, which was like getting an instant second degree burn, but never one of these - I imagine the effect would be similar though. Very nifty!

I think they eat tiny aphid souls.

Things We Don't Know

Just about everything (:-) The question I came up with was "what do fireflies eat?" Turns out that nobody knows much about eastern US fireflies. Diet, lifecycle, anything. Given that they're one of the most noticeable bugs in the eastern US (hey! shiny!), I'd imagine that we know even less about the less flashy bugs. Or at least the ones that aren't major pests.

He looks like a Rose Parade float!

What a pretty little critter; he (or she) looks like they have a rather complicated zipper down the center of their back.

He's a rather fancy fellow!

That is awesome! I love the little rewards being outside tosses your way.

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