We did a check of our bees on Sunday (they are all slacking off this summer). Under the roof of one of our hives was this caterpillar:
This isn't just a cute looking inch worm posture, this was a threatening posture. This is one of the most badass caterpillars I have ever come across. It's not unusual for us to find other bugs inside an active hive. Lots of spiders, daddy longlegs, ants and caterpillars work their way up to the shelter of the roof of the hive. As long as they stay out of the honeybees' way, no one gets killed and mummified in propolis. But when I find buts, especially caterpillars, I usually move them out. This particular caterpillar did not want to go gently. Check out this video I took of it (you will hear both me and Non Birding Bill in the background):
What the frickity frak was that all about?? It's a defense posture. Something comes up to try and eat the caterpillar and it goes all Tom Cruise crazy and the potential predator thinks, "Yeah, maybe not." We've seen caterpillars have some pretty interesting displays. Back when I ranched some black swallowtails we made a video of their defense--they whip out horns of stinkiness:
I think the caterpillar we found in the beehive is from the subfamily Hypeninae--although any bug experts can feel free to correct me, I'm not CaterpillarChick. But reading in my Caterpillars of Eastern North America Guide, it comes the closest. Also in the Remarks section for Green Cloverworm it reads, " Like other hypenines the caterpillars hurl themselves from their perch when disturbed, by rapidly contracting and twisting their bodies in a fashion reminiscent of tightly wound rubber band."
Ah, Nature, you never cease to entertain and educate me.