Jumpy Vietnamese caterpillar shies the Sun: study

PARIS, August 20, 2013 (AFP) - The larva of a Vietnamese moth has devised a unique form of transport -- constructing a leaf cone and thrashing about inside to make it jump, a study showed Wednesday. Even more remarkably, the tiny caterpillar manages to steer its leafy vehicle in a clear direction along the forest floor -- but always away from the Sun, Canadian scientists wrote in the journal Biology Letters, published by Britain's Royal Society.

The team believes the creature is in pursuit of shade.

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Dehydration seems to pose a bigger death risk even than ant predators on the ground.
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"We believe the largest risk the insect faces is from overheating and drying out, so it would be beneficial to find a cool, shady place to be," Kim Humphreys from the Royal Ontario Museum's Department of Natural History told AFP.

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The caterpillar of the moth Calindoea trifascialis wraps itself in a leaf cone about two weeks after hatching from an egg.

The cone, which protects the creature for about another two weeks until it emerges as a moth, falls to the ground and starts hopping around -- presumably looking for a safe spot.

"They jump about one jump per second, and about three quarters of a cen

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