Warm Caterpillars and Hot Maggots



IT IS difficult to imagine two kinds of animals more different from each other than the larva and the adult of a holometabolous insect-an insect that undergoes complete metamorphosis in its life cycle. Consider a caterpillar and a moth. The larva of a Cocytius moth, a sphinx moth, is a huge, slug-like creature that weighs up to 36 g (D. Janzen, personal communication). It eats green leaves, and like most other insect larvae, it is presumably poikilothermic. But the adult form of the same individual weighs about 6 g and has wings and a scaly covering. It is highly endothermic, and it regulates a T thx near 46 ° C while in hovering flight, harvesting nectar from flowers.


Gypsy Moth Temperature Excess Mojave Desert Convective Cool Pitcher Plant 
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© Bernd Heinrich 1993

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