Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Feeding on the Edge

Tobacco Hornworm larva

Tobacco Hornworm larva on artificial diet

The size of an insect can determine whether and how it can feed on a plant. A large caterpillar, such as the tobacco hornworm, can feed on the edge of a leaf from the earliest instar. The large head size allows the mandibles to open wide enough to accommodate a leaf edge. Tiny caterpillars with tiny heads cannot open their mandibles wide enough to feed from a leaf edge. These caterpillars, may bore into the plant, feed from the leaf surface or make mines in the leaf.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment, Taxonomy. Bookmark the permalink.

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