• Tatum Williams

Scientists describe vocalizing caterpillars

Can caterpillars talk? Scientists have discovered a "hard to describe" noise which comes from the harmless, little Nessus sphinx hawk moths, according to animal behaviorist Jayne Yack of Carleton University in Ottawa.

Out of the 20,000 different known species of caterpillars, scientists have only found a select few species of caterpillars emitting this noise.

According to Science News, the noise may be used as a protection device to scare away predators. This isn't the only sound these amazing little critters make: they also "use their spiracles, respiratory pores along the flanks, to toot sounds." The insects create these noises by rubbing their mouth-parts together, and they "speak by pulling air in through their mouths and into their guts and then releasing it."

According to inverse.com, "Study co-author Jayne Yack, Ph.D., has discovered four other sound-producing mechanisms that caterpillars use to ward off predators and communicate with other caterpillars." Not a lot is known about how caterpillars communicate, but with these new discoveries, the unknown is becoming closer and closer to becoming fact.

Here is a video of the noise this caterpillar makes.