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Caterpillar Molting Super Hi-Res HD Timelapse
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Watch in 720p HD full-screen as a much larger than life timelapse shows this Saturnia albofasciata 3rd instar caterpillar molt its skin. This whole process (preparation, molting and post-molting recovery) takes 2-3 days but all the real action happens during the actual shedding of the skin in only a few minutes.
the caterpillar spends about 2 days preparing to molt by growing a new skin, hairs, spines and head capsule under the old skin. A few hours of squirming and strange body contortions allow the caterpillar to "loosen" it's old skin, and then finally, it crawls its way out and allows it's new skin and head capsule to firm-up for a few hours before moving off to continue feeding. The old head capsule can be seen as a black button-like disk on the caterpillar's head, as the old skin is pushed off. The caterpillar brushes its head side to side to knock the old capsule off. The new head capsule is much larger and still a creamy skin-like color until it hardens and changes to its normal black color like the old one.
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