14 Interesting Facts about Caterpillars

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Here are some little known facts about the creepy, beautiful, colorful and/or harmful creature called – caterpillar.

1. All Swallowtail Caterpillars, if disturbed will suddenly evert bright orange osmeteria (or “stinkhorns”) from just

behind its head, glandular structures which give off a foul odor.


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2. The caterpillar of the Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea Polyphemus, can eat 86,000 times its weight at birth in little

less than two months.


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3. The large edible caterpillar called Mopani or Mopane Worm is an important source of protein for millions of

Southern Africans. Dried mopane worms can be eaten raw as a crisp snack; although in Botswana people tend

not to eat the head.


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4. The Zebra Caterpillar becomes poisonous by eating poisonous foods and has sharp spines, while the butterfly

smells very bad.


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5. Generally, the brightly colored larvae are poisonous; their color is a reminder to predators about their toxicity.

Stinging Rose Caterpillar is a fine example.


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6. Manduca sexta or Tobacco Hornworm will increase its weight ten-thousand-fold in less than twenty days.


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7. The Puss Caterpillar or Woolly Slug is the most poisonous caterpillar in the United States. This peculiar-looking

larva spits acid to its predators.


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8. The most aggressive defenses are bristles associated with venom glands, called urticating hairs; venom among

the most potent defensive chemicals in any animals is produced by the South American Silk Moth genus Lonomia.

It is an anticoagulant powerful enough to cause a human to hemorrhage to death.


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9. Cinnabar Caterpillars can turn cannibalistic. This can be due to lack of food, but they can eat other Cinnabar

larvae for no apparent reason.


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10. Caterpillars of the Common Hook-Tip-Moth, Drepana arcuata, produce sounds to defend their silk nests from

members of their own species, by scraping against the leaf in a ritualized acoustic duel.


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11. Most caterpillars are solely herbivorous. Some are cannibals, and others prey on caterpillars of other species.


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12. Caterpillar breathes through small holes on the segments called spiracles.


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13. Some Arctic Moths may spend 14 years as caterpillars, only active a few weeks each summer.


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14. Caterpillars have 4,000 muscles while humans have 629 only.


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Hope you enjoyed this. Thank you!

See related article

The Twenty Most Toxic Caterpillars


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