A Caterpillar That Uses The Skulls Of Its Enemies As A Shield

There are some pretty hardcore animals in this world, but I have never heard of an animal that wears bones on its body. Except, of course, for the Uraba Lugens, a type of caterpillar that, at some point, discovered that wearing the bones of dead insects would work as an effective method of self-defense.

This type of caterpillar can be found in New Zealand and Australia. And the bones that it wears on its body are actually its own bones. During the larval stage this caterpillar sheds its exoskeleton similar to most other insects. However, unlike most other insects, this caterpillar keeps its old skulls after shedding them. After a while the caterpillar will gather so many skulls that it can stack them on top on one another in order to make a horn out of them for defensive purposes.

A group of researchers determined that this skull-collecting behavior helps them survive when they are young and fresh out of the larval stage. The researchers determined this by removing the skulls from a few young caterpillars to see what would happen. The caterpillars that had their skull collections taken from them died as a result of attacks from other insects. This is possibly the most bizarre, yet resourceful method of survival ever used.

Does the Uraba Lugens have any other way of defending itself aside from it collection of skulls?



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