The Mad Hatterpillar


The Gum Leaf Skeletoniser moth, a native of Australia, has a very unique trait. They wear they shed heads as hats!

As caterpillars grow, they shed their exoskeletons, since their hard protective covering can’t grow with them. Most insects leave their shells behind, but this caterpillar, affectionately labeled “The Mad Hatterpillar,” takes the heads of its old shells and sticks it on its new head, making a column of old heads, as seen above. It is unknown why the caterpillar does that – possibly to warn birds and lizards of its poisonous spines, but that’s rather unlikely.


(via Bug Girl’s Blog)


4 thoughts on “The Mad Hatterpillar

  1. Hello. Hello.
    Do you like my hat?
    I do not.

    Caps! Caps! Caps for sale!

    What an hysterical image is that ‘pillar!
    God definitely has a good sense of humor.

  2. The more the barnacle eats, the more it grows. Not only does the growing barnacle have to deal with its surrounding house, it is also constrained by its own shell (made from chitin, the same material as lobster shells and insect exoskeletons). And that can create a tight living arrangement for the creature. Like lobsters, barnacles shed their shell when it gets too small for them. But since they never leave their plated homes, they must enlarge their current one. No one is quite sure how the barnacle accomplishes this home renovation, but there is probably a chemical secretion that dissolves the inner layers while new material is added to the outside.

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