The caterpillar of the three spot moth is a uniquely ugly life form, and there is a reason for its lack of aesthetic appeal. Researchers are under the impression that this caterpillar adorns itself with particular natural materials in order to disguise itself as bird feces. The caterpillar is not indulging in an extreme form of cosplay, rather the poop-disguise will fool potential predators into thinking…..well you get the idea.
This caterpillar’s tricks do not stop at improvised poop-disguises. For example, the little slimy looking objects adorning this caterpillar’s body are not actually materials of fecal composition, instead the caterpillar dresses itself in its own discarded heads. To make that clear, bugs undergo a molting process as they age into adulthood, which is similar to shedding skin. In the caterpillar’s case, it sheds its heads, and then keeps the old rotting heads for fecal related hijinks. For example, the caterpillar uses its old discarded heads as weapons in addition to making disguises out of them. The caterpillar has been known to chuck its old heads very fast at oncoming enemies as a fighting technique; presumably when their disguise fails.
Is it likely that this caterpillar uses direct confrontation with other hostile insects as a last resort because this caterpillar is still too immature to defend itself with preemptive attack techniques?