3 Hawaiian Caterpillars Have a Predator Cloaking Device and Bloodlust
The Sci-Fi horror classic Predator stars a hulking invisible crab-faced space demon that uses its special cloaking ability to sneak up on people and rip their skulls out of their heads before they have any idea what's happening. The space demon also has dreadlocks, because vague racism makes everything scarier.
W. Mull /University of Hawaii
Mandibles barely beat out giant red lips in the design phase.
How could something like that possibly be more unsettling? How about if it was a camouflaged insect that ate its victims alive instead of merely pulling their bones out? Because that's exactly how the carnivorous caterpillars of Hawaii roll.
That's the Eupithecia caterpillar, paying tribute to the invisible alien that made sure that Jesse Ventura found plenty of time bleed after all. Instead of chewing on delicious screamless leaves like most caterpillars, these nightmare-fanged murder slugs prefer the shrieking flesh of ambushed victims:
Butterflies are so cute when they're babies.
Like the Predator, the Eupithecia caterpillar is a master of deception, with the ability to disguise itself as an anonymous leaf or twig until dinner comes stumbling by. Once an unsuspecting target is within range, the Eupithecia snatches it up in its horrific, eerily Predator-esque mandibles and proceeds to eat the terrifying shit out of it.
"She says the jungle ... it just came alive and took him."
In case Horrorpillar wasn't enough, there's also the Hyposmocoma molluscivora, which is the Buffalo Bill of the caterpillar world. See, the Hyposmocoma eats snails -- in fact, it's the only caterpillar currently known to science that eats any kind of shelled animal. But instead of blending into the background like the Eupithecia, the Hyposmocoma will wrap itself up in the shells of previously-digested snails and sneak up on its latest target while pretending to be a kindred spirit. That's right -- it ambushes other snails by wearing the skin of its former victims.
"Who keeps playing Goodbye Horses?"
Once it gets close enough to its prey, it ties the snail up in a silk net like a freaking spider, crawls inside the captive snail's shell, and eats it from the inside out.
Science/San Francisco Chronicle
So basically, they start dating.
So why is Hawaii the only place on Earth with horrific, meat-eating caterpillars? The answer appears to be evolution at its darkest -- since no uber-predators like ants or wasps are native to the area, these wriggling clawbeasts have simply evolved to fill the murder gap. Because you can't have a tropical paradise without scary mutant insects.
2 Peruvian Spiders Build Disturbing Blair Witch Towers for No Reason
If you are walking through the woods and see a geometric shape drawn into the ground (or even worse, built out of animal bones,) you know some evil shit is about to be summoned to life there. Your sacrificial blood is probably the only missing ingredient. So, for instance, you never see the titular witch in The Blair Witch Project; the three bumbling protagonists just find a bunch of ritualistic structures implying that some kind of Satanic shit is about to go down:
This is the Forest Witch Rune for "skip the sequel," a message many of us ignored until too late.
This is why to this day we're so fascinated by relics like Stonehenge -- it implies something freaky was going on there. Well, researchers in the Peruvian Amazon recently stumbled upon similarly mysterious tower-like silk structures scattered throughout the forest like they were dropped by a bunch of ghosts in a weekend crafting club. These " Silkhenges" were far too complex and numerous to just be random collections of jungle debris, so who (or what) built them? The Blair Witch seemed like a reasonable guess.
Troy Alexander/Tambopata Research Center
Though credible experts simply say, "Aliens."
The answer turned out to be spiders, because, of course, it was fucking spiders. That blob in the center is actually an egg sac:
Discovering that hideous jungle spiders built these structures was only part of the mystery, though. For one thing, what freaking spider builds a fenced-in tower? Also, each tower only contains one spider, which is strange as hell -- spiders never lay a single egg, because they realized long ago that reproducing in madness-inducing swarms was the best way to keep their stranglehold of fear on the world's population. The intricate design is confusing as well. Is it for protection? An elaborate trap to catch food for the incubating spider? Is it a jungle gym?
One of those infant playsets to teach the baby shapes and murder?
The best explanation thus far (a phrase here meaning "the one we prefer to believe over 'the tower is a shrine to Spider Odin'") is that these skittering bastards are ant eaters. That silky fence protects the baby spider from invading ants until it hatches, at which point it begins adorably devouring all those who sought to destroy it. As far as why they only lay a single egg in each cocoon, these spiders are ridiculously small, so it could very well be that one egg is all they can manage to squeeze out at a time.