Clever Caterpillar Hauls Camouflage On Its Back To Avoid Predators

EcuadorMegadiversoPublished: January 14, 2018Updated: January 16, 20181,043 views
Published: January 14, 2018Updated: January 16, 2018

A curious video has emerged showcasing the caterpillar larvae of bagworm moth hauling its camouflage on its back. Apparently they construct cases out of silk and materials such as leaves, wood and soil as camouflage from predators.

It is incredible that each bagworm makes a case particular to its species, in this case of a Pagoda bagworm the camouflage resembles a Chinese temple. The bagworm extends its head and thorax from the mobile case to devour the leaves of host plants.

They also pupate inside their house and adult males take flight to find a mate, while emerged female moths are wingless. Without leaving their bag they are fertilized by a male moth through the tip of the pagoda. The female lays her eggs inside the bag and seals it with saliva, then leaves its home and dies.

Caterpillars are masters of disguise, they retreat inside their protective mobile shelter on their back to avoid predators. Have you ever bumped into a brown leaf-cocoon object while walking along pavements or on overhead bridges? They usually appear to be tiny and non-existent until you felt something sticky on your face or hands when you knocked into their silky threads holding the cocoons.

Bagworm moths are of the Order Lepidoptera, same as the butterflies and family Psychidae. The distinctive feature of bagworms is that their larvae are remarkable architects, building mobile cases made of environmental materials, in this example, the leaves, to hide themselves in. Thus, within each case hides a tiny caterpillar. For the pagoda bagworm, it scrapes the chlorophyll off the leaf before incising cleanly around the area consumed, creating a circular wound. The excised leaf piece is then added to its protective casing.

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