Kibble: The Mad Hatterpillar


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Episode  074

On this Kibble…


Some insects and now talking about caterpillars defend themselves from predators using toxic chemicals, repugnant smells, or stinging hairs. Some camouflage themselves.

But this particular caterpillar stacks its molted heads atop 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.


Check our previous full episode: Episode 73

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