Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Caterpillars Build Silk Alarm Systems

According to a news story written by Matt Kaplan for National Geographic News, scientists just discovered that metalmark moth caterpillars can build their own versions of home security systems out of silk. Previously, only spiders were thought to be able to detect tremors in their webs caused by foreign objects. The study could shed light on the evolution of animals that use silk to detect intruders.

Metalmark moth caterpillars are known for building protective shelters made out of silk on the leaves where they dwell. The larvae chew small holes beneath the shelters to escape when danger nears.

The research will appear next month in the journal Animal Behaviour. For more information on this study, visit National Geographic News.

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