The Singing Caterpillar

Well, all right, it doesn’t sing like Gene Autry. But it does squeak like a mouse–no small achievement, when you don’t have vocal organs.

Mr. Nature here, with the North American walnut sphinx moth caterpillar, which squeaks like a mouse when you bother it. This video was filmed outdoors, so you’ll have to turn up the volume to hear the caterpillar. Scientists theorize that it does this to fool small animals that might want to eat it: the caterpillar’s squeak sounds like an alarm call one of those small animals would make if someone really dangerous, like a hawk or a cat, came along. That’s the theory, at least. No one’s found a way to ask the caterpillar.

The caterpillar produces its squeak by forcing air out the spiracles (breathing holes) along its sides. Pavarotti never learned how to do that.

God’s stuff–infinite variety, infinite surprise.

7 comments on “The Singing Caterpillar

  1. You’ve outdone yourself with this one, Mr. Nature! What an interesting little creature!

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