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Oecologia

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 325–337 | Cite as

Foraging strategies of caterpillars

Leaf damage and possible predator avoidance strategies
  • Bernd Heinrich
Article

Summary

An analysis of the foraging behaviors of several species of palatable and unpalatable lepidopterous larvae indicates that palatable caterpillars partition their time between feeding and behaviors that could be related to escape visually oriented predators. Depending on the species, palatable caterpillars do all or several of the following: 1) restrict themselves to the underside of leaves at all times, 2) restrict foraging to night-time, 3) commute to and from their feeding area on leaves, 4) move from the unfinished leaf to a distant leaf after a feeding bout, thus removing themselves from the evidence of their eating, 5) snip off partially-eaten leaves after feeding on them. The less palatable, or unpalatable, caterpillars do not snip off partially-eaten leaves, feed from leaves leaving tattered edges, and are often exposed resting and feeding on the leaf surfaces in direct sunshine. I conclude that some caterpillar foraging behaviors may have evolved under the selective pressure of visually-oriented predators that use leaf-damage as a cue in their searching behavior.

Keywords

Selective Pressure Leaf Surface Lepidopterous Larva Feeding Bout Distant Leaf 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernd Heinrich
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Entomology and ParasitologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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