Yellow and black caterpillar crawling on a leaf in a green background
Virus Alters Caterpillars’ Vision to Trick Them into Climbing
A study finds that a baculovirus that infects cotton bollworm larvae changes the expression of genes involved in light perception, driving them to seek heights that could favor viral transmission.
ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, MOXUMBIC
Virus Alters Caterpillars’ Vision to Trick Them into Climbing
Virus Alters Caterpillars’ Vision to Trick Them into Climbing

A study finds that a baculovirus that infects cotton bollworm larvae changes the expression of genes involved in light perception, driving them to seek heights that could favor viral transmission.

A study finds that a baculovirus that infects cotton bollworm larvae changes the expression of genes involved in light perception, driving them to seek heights that could favor viral transmission.

ABOVE: © ISTOCK.COM, MOXUMBIC

caterpillar

Monarchs Covered 53 Percent Less Area in Mexico this Winter
Ashley Yeager | Mar 16, 2020
The decline in total occupied forest may not equate to an overall loss in butterfly numbers, but scientists are still concerned that their populations are suffering.
caterpillar acid spraying plant defense latex poinsettia insect predation
Image of the Day: On the Attack
Chia-Yi Hou | Jul 11, 2019
This caterpillar secretes acid to get past the defenses of the plant on which it preys.
Image of the Day: Whistling Caterpillar
The Scientist Staff, The Scientist Staff | Mar 1, 2018
Nessus sphinx hawkmoth larvae make alarm calls using mechanics similar to rocket engines. 
The Caterpillar that Cries Wolf
Mary Bates | Sep 22, 2017
In a case of acoustic deception, caterpillars mimic bird alarm calls to defend themselves.
Caterpillars Turn to Cannibalism: Study
Abby Olena | Jul 10, 2017
Herbivores may take to omnivory and eat conspecifics when the plants they feed on produce unsavory protective chemicals.
Week in Review: November 2–6
Jef Akst | Nov 6, 2015
How Ebola hides from immune cells; gut microbes’ role in immunotherapy response; new mechanisms of hearing loss; butterflies use milkweed toxins to ward off predators
Butterflies Weaponize Milkweed Toxins
Geoffrey Giller | Nov 4, 2015
Monarch and queen caterpillars store toxic compounds from their milkweed diet to ward off predators into adulthood, a new study suggests.
Behavior Brief
Amanda B. Keener | Sep 2, 2015
A round-up of recent discoveries in behavior research
Really Bad Breath
Abby Olena | Jan 3, 2014
Tobacco hornworms release puffs of nicotine that deter some predators.
Timed Defense
Cristina Luiggi | Feb 16, 2012
Plants’ circadian clocks help them gear for attack by herbivores.