Sunday, October 2, 2016

Caterpillars are Amazing, Too - Right? You Bet!!!

On a hike to a waterfall, my family passed this little guy:

In fact, we actually passed so many of these guys that it got me wondering - there's got to be amazing facts about caterpillars, right? You bet there are! And the more I read about caterpillars, the more I learned just how fascinating they are!

Now, let's stop and just think about one commonly-known thing about caterpillars: they transform into butterflies or moths through a process called metamorphosis. This alone is amazing and unlike most other creatures! In fact, the caterpillar I snapped a photo of will transform into the American Dagger Moth:

Now, moths alone are amazing creatures - for example, male moths can smell a female moth more than 7 miles away despite not having a nose! However, this post is focused on caterpillars instead. So, here are some amazing facts about caterpillars:

  • There are 180,000 known different types of caterpillars. 
  • When you see a caterpillar, it's in the larva stage of their life cycle. There are 4 parts of their life cycle: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (the chrysalis or cocoon stage); and adult (moth or butterfly). Caterpillars begin making the cocoon after being only 2-4 weeks old! That means you only have a short time to see the little guys before they disappear.
  • A caterpillar's job is really one thing: eat. Some consume 27,000 times their body weight. This is so that they have enough energy to complete their metamorphosis and produce eggs as an adult.
  • Because of how much they eat, caterpillars increase their body mass by at least 1,000 times! 
  • They have about 4,000 muscles in their body! Guess how many a human has? 629. Wow!
  • Caterpillars move in a wave like motion from back to front. Can you do that?
  • They are geniuses at self defense. Some look like bird droppings, twigs, leafs, or bark. Others will absorb toxins from their host-plants so that birds will not want to eat them.
Enjoy some pics of some crazy-looking Caterpillars, and what they metamorphosis into!!!

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