Ignore everything and watch these fluffy little dudes. They look like aliens or villains from some 1950s horror movie or something, but they’re all caterpillars you can literally find in the United States.
The California Academy of Sciences’ bioGraphic has compiled these close-up videos by Samuel Jaffe to highlight the kinds of caterpillar species you might be able to find in your own backyard (if you live in the U.S., that is). As a reminder, caterpillars are the larval stage of butterflies and moths. They’re not really babies, per se, but an animal that turns into what is essentially a completely different animal after encasing itself in a pupa.
Predators and the forces of evolution have created some truly wacky caterpillar specimens. One looks like it’s wearing a saddle, another looks like Chewbacca, and others mimic leaves or even other animals, like spiders. Despite their beauty, many deliver toxic venom through spines on their bodies.
Jaffe, for his part, founded a nonprofit called The Caterpillar Lab. The organization is meant to show off the diversity of Northeast US’ caterpillars “through educational programs, art, and science.”
So sit back and appreciate some of nature’s wildest crawlers.