DR. JOHN BRACKENBURY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR. JOHN BRACKENBURY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Caterpillar rolling (image 1 of 2). View of a mother-of-pearl moth caterpillar (Pleurotya ruralis) starting to roll. This unique defence mechanism allows the caterpillar to escape from predators at nearly 40 times its normal walking speed. To achieve this feat the caterpillar moves sharply backwards arching its back whilst keeping its terminal claspers (seen at the front and rear of its body) attached to the ground. As its momentum carries it backwards it releases its claspers, curls into a ball and rolls away from danger. Caterpillars are the larval stages of moths and caterpillars. To see the caterpillar rolling see image Z355/536.
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