I couldn’t help it - here are some more jeweled caterpillars
I just posted about a particularly awesome jeweled caterpillar, but I had to have some more. The above caterpillars were photographed by Dan Janzen (except for the turquoise one). One question you may ask is, what is the purpose of the gummy spikes? There is some evidence that they make it harder for the larvae to be eaten, since ants placed in the same container as the caterpillars find their mouths gummed up. Here’s more from the SciAm blog Observations:
Biologists do have some ideas about the function of larvae’s gumdrop spines, however. The glutinous cones break off extremely easily—one can gently tweeze them off or even pull them off by accident—suggestive of the way some lizards’ tails snap off in a predator’s mouth. Janzen says this trick might help the larvae escape from hungry insects and birds, but researchers have not yet confirmed this.