• Question: How can caterpillars eat so much? I always see them eating! Surely their stomach must be tiny?

    Asked by peter296 to Tommy, Simon, Rosemary, Roisin, Jun, Jean, Andrius, Aimee on 28 Apr 2020.
    • Photo: Simon Spichak

      Simon Spichak answered on 28 Apr 2020:

      Cool question! Believe it or not, a large portion of the caterpillar’s body are intestines so plenty of room to store food. Besides, they’ve got a tough job ahead of them. After a little while (about 3 weeks) of eating non-stop, they use all of this energy to build a cocoon and turn into butterflies! Now this whole process is very energy intensive because it involves literally restructuring their entire body. All this energy goes towards digesting most of the caterpillar’s organs, except for a few specialized structures. And then these specialized structures literally divide into more cells, use the energy from its former body and become beautiful butterflies!
      Although caterpillar’s may be tiny, they need to eat a lot to store all their energy for becoming butterflies!

    • Photo: Tommy Hayden

      Tommy Hayden answered on 28 Apr 2020:

      Hi Peter

      I wasn’t aware they ate as much as they apparently do until I looked it up just now (but that said I know they can mike light work of some of the stuff I’m growing in my polytunnel…)

      Simon has already covered anything I was going to respond with. It is an amazing transition they go through

      Thanks for the question – it helped me learn something new!