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Pink foot

Pink foot
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-06-16
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4, 1/80 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Animals from my garden [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-07-17 9:54
Viewed: 4826
Points: 62
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Totalyarus uncertaintianeae / Pink Foot

Today's image gave me lots of extra grey hairs, in the span of a few days. I thought insects was difficult to identify, but boy oh boy, caterpillars are the pits. In my opinion worms or caterpillars are a horrendous nightmare! I was so excited when I first saw the outcome of this image, and over days I eagerly worked through the Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. I was so pleased when I eventually "found" the "correct" identification, because the book contains mostly photos of the moths or butterflies and very few images of the caterpillars. I was so chuffed with myself that I even wrote an e-mail to Dr. Mike Picker, the principal author of the mentioned field guide, and I attached this photo.

Then Loot started to assist me and we looked at some other images of this caterpillar. Suddenly my bubble burst, as I realised I have made a mistake with the identification. I felt quite sheepish, expecting that there would be a return e-mail in the morning, informing me that the identification was incorrect. I thought I'd beat him to it and sent him another e-mail. This contained a different image of the same caterpillar seen from another viewpoint (please see the workshop). I asked him if this could perhaps be a different species, also shown in his guide, thinking to myself I must have the right one now.

Pop! The bubble burst again when he returned my mail and indicated that it is not what I thought it was but the caterpillar of the Tussock moth belonging to the family Lymantriidae. When Loot and I took another look at all the photos we came to the conclusion that it is not that species either. So, at this moment I am rather sorry that I can not identify this species. It seems like this beautiful little "pink foot" will remain incognito unless someone else can help me to identify it. The identification of worms and caterpillars are definitely not a subject for the layman. Information is scarce and visual material even less (seems especially so on the South African front).

Interesting information about the caterpillar or larva
A caterpillar is a eating (munching) machine. It consists of a pair of jaws or mandibles for chewing plant matter followed by a long gut for digestion. It moves using three pairs of true legs (like all insects) and five further pairs of 'prolegs', sucker like structures with hooks on the end for gripping hold of the leaves and stems. Along the side of the larva are small openings, spiracles, nine pairs in all, through which respiration occurs. A modified set of salivary glands, spinnerets, produce silk, which is discussed later on this page. All butterfly larvae are hairy, some quite spectacularly covered with bushes of setae, and they may well be off-putting to potential predators.

When 1st hatched the larva or caterpillar is very small indeed, just a few millimetres long. These 1st instar larvae look similar regardless of which species they belong to. Usually the caterpillar immediately searches out food and starts to eat, although some species overwinter at this stage. Due to the nature of the skeleton of insects they cannot grow in the same way that we do. Every so often the caterpillar sheds its skin so that it can expand and grow to a larger size. This process is known as ecdysis and each time it happen the caterpillar moves on to a new instar. Most European species moult 4 times and so their final stage is usually the 5th instar.

Caterpillars feed for a large part of their time, consuming an ever increasing amount of food plant as they get rapidly larger. Some species prefer the cover of night to avoid unwanted attention, their excrement, usually called frass, is dropped all over the place in small lumps. Some butterfly species actually have a system of catapulting it away to deter predators.

Caterpillars produce a silken thread from organs beside their jaws. This is used for a variety of purposes. It gives the caterpillars a good hold on their food plant and some use it to rest between bouts of feeding. Others build a web in which the young caterpillars live together, presumably for defensive purposes, only dispersing when near fully grown.

When a caterpillar is fully grown it takes time to wander in search of a suitable pupation site. This stage is sometimes known as the prepupa. The larva will let all frass clear its system before pupation. Different families pupate in different ways. A short while after the larva has attached itself the change to a pupa begins. It is thought a hormone is introduced into the system to begin this process. Source

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

goatman04, Luis52, kanu, nglen, KOMSIS, tuslaw, valy67, maurydv, JORAPAVI, roges, CeltickRanger, goldyrs, siggi, jconceicao, Christopher_PL, Noisette, Adanac, cedryk, jmirah, boreocypriensis has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Anna,

This is an excellent shot with extra fine details, sharpness & colors. Your delicate skills are alive & well. Very well done & TFS.

Best Regards


  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2009-07-17 10:01]

Hola Anna.
Nice hairy Caterpillar. Soon it will be a Moth or Butterfly, who knows. Nice pink foots and orange head.
TFS Anna.

  • Great 
  • kanu (5)
  • [2009-07-17 10:06]

Hi, Piggy nice capture of this caterpiller, in its own camaflouge, but i think while capturing u could have select contrass background as its so tiny, after all its my opinion ( pls don get upset) thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-07-17 10:06]

Hi Anna, What ever it turns out to be it a first class close uo of this beautiful looking caterpillar. You have taken it with sharp focusing and fine detail. You use of the light has given bright colours. All with interesting notes. well done TFS.

You and Loot have a nice weekend.

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2009-07-17 10:08]

Hi Anna,
This caterpillar, job is difficult ...
Natural environment, color and detail are very good.
best wishes,

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-07-17 11:35]

Hello Anna
An interesting caterpillar capture wit very sharp details, wonderful colors and perfect focus. Well done.
Regards and have a nice week-end.

Hello Anna,
I can understand why the naming of this Cat would be so hard as I imagine as you have now discovered that there are many different families of Cats that appear so closely to the same. Your image is not the problem with the identification as the orange line across its side is a good starting point as are the long silver spines/hairs growing over its body. Excellent macro with perfect lighting for such a small critter...
Have A Great Weekend...

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-07-17 20:46]

Amazing image Anna,
An unusual looking caterpillar shown with exceptional detail!! Great DOF and color with just the right exposure.
I know your frustration at identifying caterpillars, it can as you stated become a nightmare. There are simply not enough good images out there in the guide books to help us identify them.

Wow, Anna, like good wine you improve with age...errr experience! Your macro pics are excellent, once again , well done. I much prefer seeing these hairy things in photos than real life, thanks for sharing!

  • Great 
  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2009-07-17 23:41]

Hello Anna !
Even with no correct ID, "Pink Foot" is a very beautiful caterpillar, and I admire all the time and energy you have put into trying to find its name ! The picture is also of the best quality, with pin sharp details, wonderful natural colors, a great POV and a splendid composition. I like the pink feet and orange head of this hairy caterpillar, it's one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Very well done !

Hi Anna,
A nice capture of this beautiful pink foot caterpillar. Very well captured both here and in WS. Excellent sharp details and a very good composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Ciao Anna,
a splendid macro shot of this caterpillar taken with outstanding sharpness, fine details and superb lighting, vivid colours, POV and composition are excellent; also the picture in WS is excellent.
Best regards
Have a nice weekend

Ciao Anna, wonderful caterpillar with fantastic colors, great macro with fine details and excellent sharpness, very well done, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

Hola Anna,
Excelente captura con gran definición y riqueza de detalles, buena iluminación y color natural, saludos
José Ramón

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-07-18 13:05]

Hi Anna,

Superb catch!
I like very much, congratulations.
Have a beautiful weekend,

hello Anna

excellent macro photo of this insect with fine POV and DOF,
fine focus with great sharpness and details, beautiful warm
luminosity and colour tones, TFS


A very sharp and detailed macro, Anna...
Very well seen...

hello Anna
this is a Beauty!!
great details and beautiful colours
greeting lou

Ciao Anna. Fantastic colours and stunning details for this caterpillar. Excellent light's work.


Witaj Aniu!
I with great pleasure read Your note. It is books about caterpillars in fact little. Your is very colourful. Excellent quality of picture. Fact gladdens me that you gave this second picture yet. It is superb also.
Gratuluje i pozdrawiam - Roma

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-07-22 6:02]

Hello Anna,
Lovely colors, great composition and a very good background. An attractive macro of this cute caterpillar.
Best regards Siggi

Hello Anna,

Fantastic photo.
Natural colours with great details.
Light,focus and sharpness are splendid.
Good note.

Hello Anna,
It's possible to create so good picture (1/80 sec) without the tripod? Excellent details, every chair is perfect visible, thanks


Hello Anna
wonderful shot of this hairy caterpillar, i like his pink feet but also his orange head
the details are very sharp and you have taken it of a nice way and great composition
the lighting is also very good
Have a good night

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2009-07-22 17:57]

Hello Anna,
Wonderful image of this fussy little fellow. The details and colors reveled by you great camera work are superb, thank you for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-07-23 8:24]

Hello Anna,
I fully appreciate your struggles with the ID of this caterpillar but I'm afraid I can't help!
All I can say is that it is a great macro of it, the technical standard, POV, colours and lighting contribute to a fine image that should enable a specialist to ID it.
Sad that such a nice shot doesn't have a proper name but your 'Pink Foot' does well as a substitute1
Thanks and all the best,

Gracias por tus comentarios Anna; aquí al revés , estamos teniendo varias semanas de muchísima calor, superando cada día los 35ºC; en España además están sucediéndose los incendios :( que son un auténtico desastre en las últimas décadas.

Tu fotografía es impresionante, de gran belleza e impactante colorido; los que hemos fotografiado orugas sabemos de la dificultad de captarlas medianamente bien , especiamente estas con tanto pelo. Destacaría sobre todo el buen trabajo con la luz.

Un saludo desde españa: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-07-28 7:36]

Hi Anna,
wow...such an exciting capture of this caterpillar.
Superbb sharpness and the camouflaged is done, but you managed to make it clearly seen.
The face is so beautiful.
Wonderful, unique and very special creature well presented and shared.


  • cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
  • [2009-08-02 3:22]

Hello Anna,
To me it's a Lymantria species - quite similar to gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar).
Best greetings,

Hallow Anna,
Nice close up of this spikey little fellow. You have some fine txture and designs on the body and seemingly "eye contact" with the droopy black markings on the face. Well done with this exceptional capture,

Hi Anna
A fine capture of the caterpillar...Beautiful color...TFS

Hi Anna,

I could not belive me how i missed this spectacular caterpillar taken from wonderful POV. The details are impressive with great composition MF!
I would like to congratulate you on the latest arrival in the Eksteen clan. Now you are grandma and grandpa with Nina:) Please for ward my best wishes to Loot too.
All the best!
Have a lovely day with your granchild Nina:)


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