Friday Fun Fact – Arctic Moth Caterpillar

Arctic Moth Caterpillar

Ever heard of the Arctic Moth Caterpillar? They have got to be one of the slowest growing caterpillars in the world, we think!

Butterflies and moths are cold blooded insects, which means they are only active between 20 and 40 degrees Celsius. The majority of moths and butterflies are found in the tropics, but there are still butterflies found in all regions of the world except the Antarctic. In the colder climates they are seasonal and only breed and fly in the spring and summer.

The Arctic Moth caterpillars can only be active in June for a few weeks, and spend a large part of their active life sunbaking to get warm enough to move and feed. What a life!

They take up to 7 years to complete the larval stage of life. The caterpillar comes equipped with antifreeze in the body, so they don’t freeze in the winter. When I first saw a photo of one of these caterpillars, I thought it looked like something the cat coughed up! It turns out the hairs help to insulate the caterpillars’ body from heat loss.

They pupate at the end of their 7th summer and emerge as a moth the following summer.

The picture above was found here, where you can also learn more about this wonderful creature.

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caitlin