Creature Feature XVIII: Tent Caterpillars

Here is my latest piece for the Creature Feature column, on tent caterpillars. A couple of corrections/clarifications:

  • Horses are  grazers, not browsers, so the sentence that reads “horses…swallowed a large number of tent caterpillars along with mouthfuls of leaves” is incorrect, because horses are more likely to eat mouthfuls of grass than mouthfuls of leaves.
  • The subheading for this piece is slightly misleading, because “truly social” (or “eusocial“) is a strictly defined biological term referring to sociality that includes overlapping generations within a colony, division of labour, cooperative brood care, and sterility of the workers in a colony. Tent caterpillars are not eusocial, but I’m arguing that their version of sociality is just as interesting.

The piece is based on the following pieces of research:

I wonder if the camel herders of Kutch also know about tent caterpillars causing camel abortions

I wonder if the camel herders of Kutch also know about tent caterpillars causing camel abortions

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