It's hard to believe this image of a fruit-piercing moth in its caterpillar stage is real. Are those googly eyes (like on this purple squid)? Is it sprinkled with pearl sugar, or with twinkling stars?
Ziya Tong, host of Discovery Channel Canada's "Daily Planet" show, described photographer Arabinda Pal's image as looking "like the cosmos in living form." When Tong shared it on Twitter, it got thousands of likes.
"I thought it was a plushie at first," Jon Hallam wrote on Twitter. "That our world has such wonders in it..."
But to Pal, who snapped the image with his smartphone on October 12, it's just another day in Daspur, West Bengal, India, where he says such moths in their various stages are "quite common."
"It is one of the major pests of fruits in Asia," he wrote on Instagram. "It causes huge damage to fruit." The creature uses a barbed proboscis to pierce the skin of fruits. And those dots that look like eyes aren't eyes at all, but a camouflaging element.
Pal, who has studied both zoology and marine biotechnology, says he is "passionate about wildlife," mainly birdwatching, but mammals and butterflies as well.
He captured the dazzling shot almost by accident -- and with his smartphone.
"I went birding, and suddenly I found this beautiful creature," he said. "It was too dark so I used my mobile (a Redmi 3S) to take this shot."
Pal also shared an image of the larva at a different stage, where it is bright red.