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.
2. The caterpillar of the Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea Polyphemus, can eat 86,000 times its weight at birth in little
less than two months.
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.
4. The Zebra Caterpillar becomes poisonous by eating poisonous foods and has sharp spines, while the butterfly
smells very bad.
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.
6. Manduca sexta or Tobacco Hornworm will increase its weight ten-thousand-fold in less than twenty days.
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.
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.
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.
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.
11. Most caterpillars are solely herbivorous. Some are cannibals, and others prey on caterpillars of other species.
12. Caterpillar breathes through small holes on the segments called spiracles.
13. Some Arctic Moths may spend 14 years as caterpillars, only active a few weeks each summer.
14. Caterpillars have 4,000 muscles while humans have 629 only.
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