This Moth Looks Like Bird Poop

07/07/2014

Mother Nature is pretty awesome, especially when she has the sense of humor of a ten year old boy. 

You might be aware that the caterpillars of the giant swallowtail butterfly have evolved to look like bird droppings as way to avoid being eaten by predators. Most predators don't enjoy eating bird poop, so this strategy ensures that many giant swallowtail caterpillars will survive long enough to pupate and emerge as winged adults, which will in turn mate and lay eggs and keep the species going.

Well, giant swallowtails aren't alone in using this strategy. My National Wildlife Federation colleague Dani Tinker took some pics of an awesome moth in Great Falls, Virginia last weekend that also looks just like a pile of fresh bird poop.  

Meet the pearly wood nymph:

Pearly Wood Nymph 2

 

Doesn't look very appetizing, does it?

Pearly wood nymphs are found across eastern North America and lay their eggs on wild grapes, hibiscus, and evening primrose, so if you plant these in your garden, you might just be able to attract this cool moth to you own backyard. 

Submit your own photos to National Wildlife Photo Contest! 

Pearly Wood Nymph

Photos by Dani Tinker.

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation. 


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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