Mundane Monday: Critters on a Bench

I was out on the Stanford Campus trying to find a geocache for the day. I had met a friend for lunch and was out of my usual habitat. That’s usually a good time to look for geocaches because I’m in a new area with a lot of low-hanging fruit to be picked. This particular cache wasn’t that easy.

I retired to a nearby picnic bench to re-read the cache description and the hint. I looked down and saw all these guys. Lots of them. They are small, but quite amazing. Look at the colors, the antennae, the little hairs. Look at how they can sit on the top, or the side, of the bench, and not fall off. Look at all the different sizes they come in. They’re everywhere this time of year, and until I sat down, I hadn’t noticed them at all.

Note: based on information in this article from Stanford Magazine, these are Western tussock caterpillars (Orgiya vitusta). They make a substance that can irritate skin. Glad I didn’t touch them! Here is what they will look like someday, if the birds don’t get them first:

orgyia_vetustai_mpg26047
Credit: Gary McDonald, Moth Photographers Group, http://www.discoverlife.org

 

And I never did find this particular geocache. But I thought it would make a great picture for Mundane Monday Challenge #54.

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