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Nature’s Hidden Surprises

Penguins on a caterpillar and a smiling volcano remind us to look closer at the world.

Hidden surprises in nature, a forest tent caterpillar.

We humans think we’re so creative. But we can’t really compete with what we find in nature.

Two photos to come across the Mysterious Ways desk this week prove that—a caterpillar in an ugly Christmas sweater (forest tent caterpillar) and a volcano that seems to be saying, “Have a nice day!”

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The photo to the right was posted on the popular link-sharing site Reddit. The distinct penguin pattern is a hallmark of the forest tent caterpillar, which doesn’t turn into a butterfly, but a moth.

The species can sometimes be considered a pest, especially if a large swarm descends on an area and feasts on the surrounding plant life.

So despite its wintery attire, it might be best not to invite this little critter to Christmas dinner.

Then there’s this photo making the rounds this week, shot by a Hawaii helicopter tour company, Paradise Helicopters. Geologist David Bressen shared it on his Twitter:

The Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983, and is a popular destination for adventure-seeking tourists who want to see lava in action. Glad to know this violent force of nature has a sense of humor!

Have you discovered a hidden surprise in nature? Send your photos, links, and stories to us.

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