Sunday afternoon Bonzo, the Better Half, and I sat on the couch and watched this movie, on a tape from the library.
What I want to know is, what kind of caterpillars were these? It was difficult to tell the scale, but they looked about 4 inches long, as big around as my thumb, very fuzzy, and with brown, black and white rings. The thing is, they were marching all lined up, with head firmly stuck up the guy in front’s butt. There was this single file caterpillar parade, with what looked like hundreds of caterpillars, and at one point, the filmmakers showed two lines converging, and it was like a highway on-ramp. Eventually the second line simply budged into the original line, leaving the budge-ees from the original line standing there in puzzlement, now on their own on-ramp. Then they showed them all going around in a big circle, and then they showed them in a big pileup.
Okay. So I said, “That’s not natural behavior. The filmmakers have set that up somehow, picked up caterpillars and moved them around to make it look like a highway on-ramp, and to get them moving in a big circle, and especially the pile-up. Fun’s fun, guys, but come clean.”
And Bonzo and the Better Half said, “No, it’s like with bagworms, they get in a big pile like that for mating.”
I said, “Yes, but bagworms are up in a tree, in a bag, for safety. These guys are just right out there on the bare ground, buffet froid for any bird that happens to see them. And how could marching in huge lines right out in plain sight like that have any survival value? If they’re going to pack up and move to a new food source like that, en masse, I would think it would be safer to do it at night.”
So? You’re the Bug Man. What are these? And was it all staged? And [shudder] do we have them in the U.S.?
The movie was filmed in France, and I saw references in the acknowledgements to the “Pyrenees du Midi” and “Jura”, if that helps, geographically.
And for some reason, checking Google for “marching caterpillars France” only brings up World War I websites.