Caterpillar resembles Donald Trump’s hair

Reader Julian, who sent me this 2013 link to this caterpillar on GrindTV, noted that “It really does look like Donald’s hair.” And it does:

Caterpillar:

trump-on-leaf

Donald Trump’s hair:

donald-trump-mug

Is this a case of mimicy, with the larval habitat being men with bad wigs? Clearly not, but you can guess from the insect’s appearance that those are “urticating hairs,” i.e., hairs that, on contact, transfer an irritating substance, just like the hairs on tarantulas (I used to have a menagerie of those spiders).  As GrindTV notes:

. . . for that reason, this flannel moth caterpillar photographed in the Amazon has been nicknamed the Donald Trump Caterpillar.

It was spotted and photographed recently by Phil Torres of Posada Amazonas Rainforest Expeditions while leading a photography tour in a Peru rainforest. He posted the photo online and immediately people began commenting about how it looks like Donald Trump’s hair.

“We didn’t see the resemblance when we first saw the caterpillar, but looking at the photo, it’s certainly similar to his hair,” Torres told the UK Daily Mail. “It was pretty funny, people went mad for the photo comparing it to his toupee.”

Interestingly, and coincidentally, approaching the Donald Trump Caterpillar (scientific name: Megalopyge opercularis) can be very dangerous, particularly if you come in contact with the business end of its yellow mane.

“If you touch that thing, it would seriously hurt,” Torres, a field biologist, told the UK Daily Mail. “It has these little hairs that can poke into your skin and release a venom.”

If this thing is really found in the Amazon, it’s unlikely to be the North American “puss” caterpillar, Megalopyge opercularisas the Amazon is in South America and the farthest south this thing extends is (according to some reports) Central America. Regardless, here’s M. opercularis in a video:

And here’s the adult of that species. It’s almost furry enough to be an Honorary Cat:

800px-Megalopyge_opercularisPCCP20040714-5799B

 

 

 

29 Comments

  1. bonetired
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Nah … Boris ….

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Him too.

      My first thought was Thing from The Addams Family!

      Trump is far too horrible to have a nice wee caterpillar named after him. Even Boris is better!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        For certain very slender values of “better”. Maybe.
        Trumpers hasn’t made himself any friends up here with his housing schemes (dressed up as a golf course). But since he’s never been seen in town without a small army of protection, I’m sure he’s not losing sleep over that. His protection might be, but not Trumpers.
        Bullingdon Boris, our new Heir-Apparent, may be stupid, but he really has no reason to be seen locally, except in carefully-staged photo opportunities for the people down south to try to confuse them into forgetting that this really is a country of two (or more) countries.

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          I can’t be the only one who first read that as, “hair apparent.”

      • Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Thing was the disembodied hand. I’m thinking you mean Lurch, the butler.

        • Bob MURRAY
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Cousin IT maybe?

  2. Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m having trouble finding out how big this is. I didn’t see it mentioned in the linked article. It looks big. Is it?

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      You can see ants running past it at several points in the video (e.g. at 0:24). The caterpillar seems to be around ten times the length of the ants, if that helps. So maybe 3-5 cm at a rough guess.

      • Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Thank you for that. I did some more research and finally found some info that said that it is about an inch so good call. It also seems that the fur on the adult is not like the larval version since they don’t warn against touching the adult but not positive. I did see that they pupate by peeling themselves off the larval skin and just staying there with the spines protecting them rather than spin a cocoon.

  3. Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I always love a god joke at the expense of Donald Trump’s hair.

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I have to respectfully disagree with the comparison to Donald Trump’s hair. The caterpillar has a much more handsome and pleasing mane even in comparison to a more youthful Trump instar. I do agree that both are highly irritating, however.

  5. Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on macrocritters.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, just like the Short-fingered Vulgarian’s ‘do, but more natural-looking.

    Now if some lepidopterist would find a relict member of the Rudy Giuliani comb-over species, we’d have the makings of a new exhibit for the Central Park Zoo.

  7. lkr
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t Megalopyge opercularis translate to “really-big asshole?

    …I rest my case.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    The candy-corn-coloring mimesis of the caterpillar and The Donald is extraordinary.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    That caterpillar reminds me of this episode of Robot Chicken where William Shatner’s hair goes off and performs heroic deeds while he sleeps, then returns to his head in the morning, having collected awards for its feats.

  10. Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  11. Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Everytime I see that contemptible idiot, there is a “transfer [of] an irritating substance” – his pointless pontifications. The fact that he actually polls well amongst the Repuglicans is almost incomprehensible.

  12. Diane G.
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    Such a beautiful moth!

    • darrelle
      Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      That’s what really stood out for me too. Who cares about Trump. That moth is gorgeous!

  13. Alan Smith
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    With respect, I think everyone has got it the other way around. As demonstrated clearly by DenBleyker et al (2014), as seen here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9ryMQZIOdM), Donald Trump has clearly modelled his hair after this poisonous caterpillar in order to deter his natural predators like journalists and ethics professors.

    • Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Loved the video! Very funny!

      • Posted May 7, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Hilarious, though I’m surprised he didn’t include The Donald’s “do” in his bad-hair examples.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:32 am | Permalink

      Respectfully, I think you’ve created a false dichotomy by overlooking a third possibility — that both The Donald and the caterpillar are engaged in mimicry of a third item. As I argue above, in terms of hue and luminescence the third item they are jointly engaged in mimicking is a piece of candy corn.

      • Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        Candy corn or cotton candy? And a very unappealing shade thereof.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Good point. The coloring of candy corn, the texture of cotton candy.

  14. Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    This is one amazing caterpillar and moth. Love it!

  15. Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on eduardohomem.

  16. Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    You used to have a menagerie of tarantulas? Now that is awesome! Which species? And as pets or for study? But not all tarantulas have urticating hairs – in fact only the American species have them. Those from Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia lack them


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