Saturday, 23 February 2013

Caterpillars Build Leaf 'Houses,' Other Insects Move In

Rachel Kaufman, OurAmazingPlanet Contributor
Date: 20 February 2013 Time: 02:21 PM ET

Leaf-rolling caterpillars, widely considered pests in many parts of the world, actually play a crucial role in forest ecosystems by building shelters used by hundreds of other insect species, a new study says.

Caterpillars of the genus Anaeaare the larvae of leafwing butterflies (so named because their wings mimic dead leaves). They protect themselves while caterpillars by rolling themselves up in a leaf — like rolling a cigar. They secure the leaf with a bit of silk they produce.
But these caterpillars aren't just building temporary shelters for themselves, it turns out.

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