When we noticed the caterpillar hanging by its silk thread, it was already reeling itself back up to the branches. The process of climbing back up the silk line is a most intriguing thing to watch. The inchworm somehow rolled up the silk into a ball using its legs and jaws. It manages to hang onto the silk ball with its third pair of legs, roll up the silk, and all the while support its weight on the line.
Here are some side-by-side shots to compare. Notice where the caterpillar is attached to the silk line.
Since the inchworm was hanging on about four or five feet of line, I had time to fetch the camera and take these photos as we watched it crawl back up to the branches.
It sure didn't take long, at least not long enough for me to take all the photos I wanted.
Seeing that caterpillar dangling from its line reminded me of a rope swing ride.
The thrill of the launch...the stretch of the rope...the rush of the wind!
Wouldn't it be great though, to have an instant safety line wherever you go? You could launch yourself out into mid-air until danger passes, and then reel yourself back in.