Caterpillar’s Sixth Sense



Sixth sense: fact or fiction?


This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.


Peppered moth caterpillars are found all over the world. But you’ve probably never seen one. Why? Because they’re REALLY good at hiding by changing their color!


Meet Amy Eacock and Hannah Rowland from Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. They thought caterpillars might have a SIXTH SENSE. This superpower helps them match the color of their surroundings.


The researchers tested the caterpillars camouflage skills… while they were blindfolded! They painted over the bugs’ eyes so they couldn’t cheat. But don’t worry! The paint came right off when the caterpillars molted! Then they gave the critters different colored twigs to sit on.




Even while blindfolded, caterpillars could still match the color of their twig! In fact, they were just as good as the seeing insects! HOW do they do it? Still a mystery! But the study gives us a glimpse into how animals sense color and light.


Wish I had that sixth sense – then I might be wearing matching socks!