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Lepidoptera Larvae(Also known as Caterpillars)
What is a caterpillar?The larval stage of the order of moths and butterflies called Lepidoptera.Caterpillars pupate into moths and butterflies.They are mainly herbivores. Moths feed on trees and woody plants; Butterflies feed on herbaceous plants.There are more than 13,000 species within North America
Scientific ClassificationKingdom: AnimalliaPhylum: ArthropodaClass: InsectaOrder: LepidopteraFamily: More than 120 differentGenera: More than 15000 differentSpecies: Over 13000 in NA, estimated 170000 worldwideThe body of the caterpillar is divided into 3 parts, the head, thorax, and abdomen.The ocelli are simple eyes that detect light. Mandibles Setae are sensory hairs all over a caterpillar's body, these hairs give caterpillars a sense of touchSpiracles are holes that caterpillars breathe through
Parts of A Caterpillar Caterpillars have 3 types of legs, thoracic legs, abdominal prolegs and anal prolegs. Thoracic legs are three pairs of jointed legs with hooks that help the caterpillar hold onto its food. Abdominal prolegs are stumpy legs with crochets (small grasping hooks) that allow the caterpillar to climb and go up vertical surfaces. Caterpillars usually have four pairs of abdominal prolegs . Anal prolegs are the last pair of legs on the abdomen that are located at the very end of a caterpillar's abdomen.
Legs of a CaterpillarA caterpillar goes through four different stages of life. Each stage has a different goal. In the first stage of life, caterpillars are very small, round, oval or cylindrical eggs. The female moth or butterfly attaches the egg to leaves or other objects. These eggs are usually on or near caterpillar food.
In the second stage, the egg hatches and a caterpillar is born. This is a short stage that involves feeding and growth. The caterpillar starts his work by eating the leaf they were born on, then moves onto other leaves and plants.
In the third stage, the caterpillar form themselves into a pupa, which is also known as chrysalis. This stage begins when the caterpillar has reached its full growth. Inside of the chrysalis, caterpillars go through a metamorphic transformation and the parts that make up a moth or butterfly emerge. Tissues, limbs and organs of the caterpillar are changed by the time the pupa is finished.
In the fourth stage, an adult butterfly or moth emerges from the chrysalis. The main goal of this stage is to reproduce and includes courtship, mating, and egg-laying. Stages of LifeAppearance Caterpillars are classified in families according to their appearance. Caterpillars that turn into butterflies tend to be brighter, prettier and rather smooth looking. Swallowtails (papilionidae) and the brushfoots (nymphalidae) are two common butterfly families. - they include monarch and the American lady.
8Moths seem to be dull in color and have hair or spikes.Cutworms(noctuidae) and prominents (notodontidae) are common moth families.
Silk worms (Tortricidae) are the family of moths that you could find in dry cereal, rice, and grains.
Caterpillars appearance also ties into their defense mechanismsSpicebrush swallowtail- disguise themselves as bird droppings.
Some also have eyespots that look kind of snake like.Geometrid (Kents Geometer) or inch worms do not have legs in between allowing them to look like twigs.
Tussock Caterpillers (lymantridae) are mainly covered with lots of hair and usually bright colors and spots that deceives its predators.
Economic EffectsCause much damage, mainly by eating leaves.Other species eat food crops.target of pest controlMany species have become resistantSome caterpillars are used in industry.industry.Parasitiodism
Current ResearchNeurology and MetamorphosisEcological effects on bird and deer populationParasitiodismToxicology and Chemical DefenseInvasive species population effects and projectionsAgricultural effects