Not looking where you are leaping: a novel method of oriented travel in the caterpillar Calindoea trifascialis (Moore) (Lepidoptera: Thyrididae)

Kim Humphreys, D. Christopher Darling

Abstract

The prepupation caterpillar of the Southeast Asian moth Calindoea trifascialis constructs a leaf shelter that jumps across the ground using a jumping method novel among the insects. We found that movement path direction was correlated to the direction opposite to the most intense light. Correlated random walk (CRW) analyses found net squared displacements higher than predicted by a CRW, and fractal dimension analysis indicated straighter paths at large spatial scales. Rearing experiments showed high mortality from predation on the ground, but higher mortality resulted from sun exposure. We interpret jumping path orientation as an efficient search strategy to find shade in a variable landscape, given limited perception, in the presence of overheating and desiccation risks.

  • Received May 25, 2013.
  • Accepted July 23, 2013.
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