Orange Sulphur

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Eyespots of saddleback catterpillar (Sibine stimulea) may scare predators away
Courtesy of James Gathany, Public Health Image Library, public domain

VIDEO LIBRARY

About Butterflies and Moths (Order Lepidoptera): Life Cycle

The larvae of butterflies and moths look almost nothing like their parents. Caterpillars are fleshy with helmet-like head coverings made of chitin. In addition to 3 pairs of thoracic legs, 3-5 pairs of fleshy abdominal legs end in retractable hooks (crochets) that allow larvae to grab onto trees or other surfaces. A caterpillar hatches from an egg laid on a host plant chosen by its mother. It spends most of its time munching on the host plant- mainly leaves, but also stems, bark, or flowers. The caterpillar grows over a period of weeks, or in rare cases years, shedding its skin periodically (molting) like a shirt that has gotten too small. While growing, it employs defenses such as spines, irritating body hairs, or startling coloration to repel predators. A mature caterpillar activates the silk-making gland in its head and ejects silken threads through an organ (spinneret) on its lower lip to make a protective shelter. Whether a cocoon, a web, or a chrysalis, the caterpillar is able to use these as refuges while undergoing metamorphosis.

Eyespots of saddleback catterpillar (Sibine stimulea) may scare predators away
Courtesy of James Gathany, Public Health Image Library, public domain

VIDEO LIBRARY

About Butterflies and Moths (Order Lepidoptera): Life Cycle

The larvae of butterflies and moths look almost nothing like their parents. Caterpillars are fleshy with helmet-like head coverings made of chitin. In addition to 3 pairs of thoracic legs, 3-5 pairs of fleshy abdominal legs end in retractable hooks (crochets) that allow larvae to grab onto trees or other surfaces. A caterpillar hatches from an egg laid on a host plant chosen by its mother. It spends most of its time munching on the host plant- mainly leaves, but also stems, bark, or flowers. The caterpillar grows over a period of weeks, or in rare cases years, shedding its skin periodically (molting) like a shirt that has gotten too small. While growing, it employs defenses such as spines, irritating body hairs, or startling coloration to repel predators. A mature caterpillar activates the silk-making gland in its head and ejects silken threads through an organ (spinneret) on its lower lip to make a protective shelter. Whether a cocoon, a web, or a chrysalis, the caterpillar is able to use these as refuges while undergoing metamorphosis.

Related Resources
Eyespots of saddleback catterpillar (Sibine stimulea) may scare predators away
Courtesy of James Gathany, Public Health Image Library, public domain

VIDEO LIBRARY

About Butterflies and Moths (Order Lepidoptera): Life Cycle

The larvae of butterflies and moths look almost nothing like their parents. Caterpillars are fleshy with helmet-like head coverings made of chitin. In addition to 3 pairs of thoracic legs, 3-5 pairs of fleshy abdominal legs end in retractable hooks (crochets) that allow larvae to grab onto trees or other surfaces. A caterpillar hatches from an egg laid on a host plant chosen by its mother. It spends most of its time munching on the host plant- mainly leaves, but also stems, bark, or flowers. The caterpillar grows over a period of weeks, or in rare cases years, shedding its skin periodically (molting) like a shirt that has gotten too small. While growing, it employs defenses such as spines, irritating body hairs, or startling coloration to repel predators. A mature caterpillar activates the silk-making gland in its head and ejects silken threads through an organ (spinneret) on its lower lip to make a protective shelter. Whether a cocoon, a web, or a chrysalis, the caterpillar is able to use these as refuges while undergoing metamorphosis.

Related Resources
Eyespots of saddleback catterpillar (Sibine stimulea) may scare predators away
Courtesy of James Gathany, Public Health Image Library, public domain

VIDEO LIBRARY

About Butterflies and Moths (Order Lepidoptera): Life Cycle

The larvae of butterflies and moths look almost nothing like their parents. Caterpillars are fleshy with helmet-like head coverings made of chitin. In addition to 3 pairs of thoracic legs, 3-5 pairs of fleshy abdominal legs end in retractable hooks (crochets) that allow larvae to grab onto trees or other surfaces. A caterpillar hatches from an egg laid on a host plant chosen by its mother. It spends most of its time munching on the host plant- mainly leaves, but also stems, bark, or flowers. The caterpillar grows over a period of weeks, or in rare cases years, shedding its skin periodically (molting) like a shirt that has gotten too small. While growing, it employs defenses such as spines, irritating body hairs, or startling coloration to repel predators. A mature caterpillar activates the silk-making gland in its head and ejects silken threads through an organ (spinneret) on its lower lip to make a protective shelter. Whether a cocoon, a web, or a chrysalis, the caterpillar is able to use these as refuges while undergoing metamorphosis.

Related Resources