Monday, December 20, 2010

Australia: Where Even the Turds Are Alive [update]

I was sitting in my office on a sidewalk table at a coffee shop this morning around 6:30 when I noticed a small turd on the sidewalk crawling toward me. I thought, "Of course. It's not strange enough to have just kangaroos and platypi in Australia—they even have walking turds." Here's a photo:

I touched the thing, turned it over, and second-guessed myself: maybe I didn't see it crawling. Surely this thing can't be alive—it looks like a dried up turd, or some sort of detritus from a tree:

Luckily I took another video with clear evidence that this thing was truly alive:

I have no idea what this thing is. A caterpillar maybe. I'll find out.

Update: I found it. Strangely enough I sent a photo of the thing to What's That Bug? - a great Web site - and when I went to check back some hours later right on the front page was a photo of the same bug, but in Florida. It's a case-bearing clothes moth larvae. The outer layer is a silk cocoon the caterpillar weaves around itself, and carries with itself as it feeds.