Curious Conservationist Question: Caterpillars

The human body has 629 muscles. How many muscles does a tiny caterpillar have?

A. 40

B. 400

C. 4,000

Make a quick guess before clicking to find the answer!

Answer: C. 4,000

Look out Mr. Hulk, there is a new kid in town!

Although humans have a much bigger body, the caterpillar takes the lead in muscle power. The caterpillar’s head capsule alone consists of 248 individual muscles, and about 70 muscles control each body segment. AMAZING!!

As many of us know, the caterpillar is the larvae stage of a moth or butterfly. And it has one purpose in life. . .to eat.

Caterpillars can eat an incredible amount of food during this life cycle stage, which is why they are also considered a pest to many gardeners and farmers.

Amazingly enough, these leaf munching monsters can consume up to 27,000 times their body weight before having to begin their metamorphosis.  Without enough nutrition, the insect may not be able to survive winter, or have the energy to lay eggs as an adult.

From hatching to cocoon spinning, it is possible for a caterpillar to increase its body mass by as much as 1,000 times. . . or more!

We are losing our butterflies at an alarming rate . . .WHY?

Some butterflies have to migrate thousands of miles each year.  With  loss of habitat to lawns, mass agriculture operations, and gardens full of exotic plants, butterflies are having a hard time finding food and proper places to lay eggs.

You can help them out by creating a butterfly garden in your backyard.  Research your native butterfly to find which plants the prefer. Milkweed is a favorite among many, but a variety of native plants are very important.

Why is using native plants in gardens so important to butterflies?

As a defense against hungry wildlife, including caterpillars, plants have evolved to harbor a host of chemical toxins in their leaves. In response, each butterfly species has evolved to be resistant to the toxins of just a small number of plants so their caterpillars have something to feed on.  Butterflies/caterpillars are not resistant to exotic, ornamental plants.


Do you have a favorite butterfly species? What is it? 


Until next time my friends, this is Ms. Mallory inviting you to . . .

Ms. Mallory Adventures, Ms. mallory, Step Outside and Adventure

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