Euthalia aconthea gurda

Anne Kilmer viceroy at
Wed Oct 14 12:25:57 EDT 1998

John Grehan wrote:
> >The caterpillars of Euthalia aconthea gurda (Fruhstorfer) (Nymphalidae:
> >Nymphalinae) are described as having "delicately branched spines radiating
> >horizontally from the body". These spines are green in colour. Would anyone
> >know whether the spines are for defensive purpose (in which case they could
> >sting and cause itchiness) or are they for camouflage. Your replies would be
> >appreciated.
> I'll just be my usual anoying self and point out (in repetition) that
> whether or
> not the spines sting or cause ichiness or make the insect difficult to see by
> predators etc., this does not demonstrate a purpose for either defense or
> camouflage. By definition no one can know that the spines are for defensive
> or camouflage purpose since one would have to know the ultimate nature of
> the university (equivalent to being god or a god).
> John Grehan

The ultimate goal of the university is to publish. 
The purpose of the universe? It passes the time. 
My guess about the caterpillar, since nobody seems to have caressed one,
for good or ill, is that the spikes serve as a defense. Those nymphalids
I have known did not in fact sting, but people refrain from touching
them, just in case. 
I would imagine that other creatures are similarly cautious, as they too
avoid pain. 
Nymphalids are masters of many disguises anyway. Heaven only knows how
and why ... but isn't it fun trying to figure it out.
Tell you what ... if you've got a Euthalia, go poke it with your finger.
You owe it to all of us. 
Anne Kilmer
South florida

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