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The larva form of a white-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma) crawls across a shed (photo by Aaron Zaremsky)

Weekly Wildlife: Caterpillars

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Today’s weekly wildlife is a caterpillar, and a very cute one at that. Caterpillars are the larval form of butterflies and moths, from the order Lepidoptera. The squiggly little critters eventually pupate into the beautiful variety of moths and butterflies we are familiar with. Chances are you have viewed these insects in each form of their life cycle, from larva to pupa to adult.

The order Lepidoptera is one of the must abundant orders in the insect world, including over 170,000 different species of butterflies and moths. It is a widely distributed order as well, with species on every continent except for Antarctica. Butterflies and moths have had a wide cultural impact on humans. Humans revere the insects for their beautiful forms. Many cultures have also associated butterflies with the souls of the dead. An interesting insect to be sure.

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