Saturday, January 22, 2011

What is it with Hawaii? First carnivorous caterpillars, now amphibious ones!

Several new caterpillar species are equally at home on land or underwater, making them the first truly amphibious insects, scientists say.

The amphibious caterpillars—found only in Hawaii's fast-moving freshwaterstreams—belong to the moth genus Hyposmocoma, a group that includes more than 400 species.

The 14 newfound species are never seen far from water. But unlike purely aquatic caterpillars, these species can behave the same in water or on land for indefinite periods of time.

"When you put these guys in water, they run around and eat. You take them out, and they're perfectly fine too," said study co-author Daniel Rubinoff of the University of Hawaii.

"No other insect that we're aware of can do that. Actually, no other animal that I'm aware of can do that."

Full article here.

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