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Wed Jul 8, 2020, 06:32 AM

Weird caterpillar uses its old heads to make an elaborate hat

Meet the mad hatterpillar, the invertebrate that keeps its old moulted heads attached to its body to make a beautifully bizarre headpiece

LIFE 24 June 2020
By Gege Li



Photographer
Alan Henderson

THIS caterpillar sports a unique headpiece: each ball is one of its old moulted heads, precariously stacked on top of each other.

As the caterpillar of the moth Uraba lugens grows, it sheds its exoskeleton – but rather than getting rid of the previous head section, it stays attached to its body to create a bizarre “hat”.

This has earned it the nickname the mad hatterpillar, after the Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Found in Australia and New Zealand, U. lugens is also known as the gum-leaf skeletoniser, thanks to the caterpillars’ tendency to demolish eucalyptus leaves down to the veins.

U. lugens moults up to 13 times while in its caterpillar phase, with the tower of heads starting to be built from the fourth moult. As the caterpillar grows, each empty head is bigger than the last.

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24632881-200-weird-caterpillar-uses-its-old-heads-to-make-an-elaborate-hat/#ixzz6Rb98kVpP

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Reply Weird caterpillar uses its old heads to make an elaborate hat (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jul 2020 OP
MuseRider Jul 2020 #1
SmartVoter22 Jul 2020 #2
rownesheck Jul 2020 #3
Bernardo de La Paz Jul 2020 #4
LudwigPastorius Jul 2020 #5
burrowowl Jul 2020 #6
Chellee Jul 2020 #10
CatLady78 Jul 2020 #7
OneCrazyDiamond Jul 2020 #8
Dem2theMax Jul 2020 #9
dixiegrrrrl Jul 2020 #12
LineLineLineNew Reply .
Dem2theMax Jul 2020 #13
Nitram Jul 2020 #11
Skittles Jul 2020 #14

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 8, 2020, 08:00 AM

1. How cool is this?

Now I really want to see one, the picture will have to do though.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 8, 2020, 08:12 AM

2. non-humans can also not 'let go'

Hoarding is not limited to humans?

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 8, 2020, 08:14 AM

3. I heard about this on

Stephanie Miller. This is weird. Add that to all the weird stuff that's happened in 2020 up to this point, and I'm beginning to think I'm living in some demented alien's science experiment. It's trying to see how much I can take before I have a mental collapse.

I'm on to you, alien a-hole!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 8, 2020, 09:30 AM

4. Fractal caterpillar. . . nt

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 8, 2020, 04:36 PM

5. Hardcore...

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 8, 2020, 10:00 PM

6. I wonder what the purpose is?

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Response to burrowowl (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 11, 2020, 10:02 PM

10. According to the article,

"The headpiece isn’t just for show, however. “The function is to protect them from predators – they use it to bat predators away,” says photographer Alan Henderson of Minibeast Wildlife, an invertebrate resource centre based in Queensland, Australia. The “hat” probably boosts the caterpillars’ survival chances, by prolonging how long it takes predators to get a clear shot, he says."

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Jul 9, 2020, 03:03 AM

7. Hmmm

Can't decide if that is cool or ever so slightly gross...I have mixed feelings on this .

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Jul 9, 2020, 08:10 PM

8. That's kinda the opposite of a rattlesnake.

Neet.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Jul 10, 2020, 06:35 PM

9. Five heads are better than one?



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Response to Dem2theMax (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 14, 2020, 01:58 PM

12. Well, we all know how hard it is to get ahead in this world. n/t

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #12)

Tue Jul 14, 2020, 03:10 PM

13. .

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Jul 14, 2020, 10:53 AM

11. OMG!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Jul 15, 2020, 10:00 PM

14. HE THINKS HE IS ALL THAT

freaking showoff!

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