I had heard about saddleback caterpillars in the training for field trip hikes with the Howard County Conservancy…but only seen them in pictures. One of the surprises last Saturday when I went to Brookside Gardens for a Wings of Fancy shift was the news that the caterpillars had been found in the part of the conservatory not used for the exhibit; they were feeding on canna plants. So – the staff had put them with the plant in a closed case in the caterpillar house giving me and everyone that visited the exhibit an opportunity to see them without the pain that comes from touching them (their bristles have venom!) by accident. On Monday morning, my husband I returned to try to photograph them through the glass of the case. They’d almost doubled in size between Saturday morning and Monday morning! My camera did an OK job – not fabulous but they are clearly saddleback caterpillars.
My husband got the better picture.
If you are interested about this and other poisonous caterpillars, Nancy Goor has an informative page with great pictures on her web site.