Pula

Not what you would expect for a first picture of Pula, but we saw this ‘unusual’ parade of caterpillars wending it’s way down the street in Pula.

Thaumetopoea pityocampa

It is known as the ‘pine processionary’.

“Lengthy processions are formed when fully-grown caterpillars abandon their host tree in search of pupation sites, when as many as three hundred caterpillars may travel long distances from the natal tree looking for soft soil in which to bury themselves and form cocoons. During processions, stimuli from setae on the tip of the abdomen of the caterpillar in front serve to hold processions together, taking priority over the trail pheromone or silk. A caterpillar can readily be induced to follow a model made of a wooden dowel covered with the integument of the abdomen of a killed caterpillar.”

-Wikipedia

Unfortunately they are a significant pest and damaging to pine trees.  They also secrete a substance on their hairs that are toxic to humans.  Had we known, this group would have never made it ‘to the other side’.

Interesting nonetheless.

 

 

 

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