• Home Home

Gardener stunned by 'terrifying' creature they discovered while tending plants: 'You might be in Labyrinth'

Its markings gave it an appearance somewhere between a grinning face and a skull.

In August, a Redditor in Tampa, Fla., shared two pictures of a creature that commenters described as "cute yet terrifying."

The post appeared on r/insects, where the bug-loving community has plenty of experience identifying creepy crawlies. Their wide knowledge base has protected the natural world many times by helping Redditors to be at ease with the harmless and even beneficial insects they come across.

Photo Credit: u/Terrible-Mousse / Reddit

"Who's this dude?" asked the original poster, attaching two photos of a white insect sitting on a blade of grass.

The images showed a white caterpillar with black markings on its face. It was small, with a body not much wider than the grass it was sitting on, but its long, silky white fuzz puffed it up to several times its original size.

The caterpillar's face, in particular, got a reaction from viewers, as its markings gave it an appearance somewhere between a grinning face and a skull.

"You might be in Labyrinth," said one commenter.

Photo Credit: u/Terrible-Mousse / Reddit

They may have been referring to the film's fuzzy blue worm character or the cast of furry and fantastical puppets in the movie. Either way, the remark sparked a comment chain full of movie quotes and references.

Still, the members of r/insects weren't distracted from making an ID. "Might be a laugher moth (Charadra deridens) caterpillar," suggested one user, and others quickly jumped in to confirm the match.

The laugher moth is also sometimes called a marbled tuffet moth, according to Capital Naturalist. As Picture Insect explains, the moth's adult form is a small, marbled brown moth with markings that some people say resemble a laughing face.

If you find a laugher moth or its caterpillar while gardening, don't worry — you're safe to keep enjoying the healthy fresh air and sunshine. This species isn't venomous, and it only eats plants, so it isn't dangerous, even if some people find the face creepy.

Other commenters found the furry critter downright cute, especially in the second image when it seemed to look up for the camera. "Could be it reacting to the infrared signals of the first picture's automatic rangefinder," one user suggested. "Not sure if this species is sensitive to that, but it's why you might see various little bugs react to a camera focusing on an image."

"That's ... the coolest and cutest thing I've ever heard!!!" another commenter replied.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider