Global Caterpillar Killers

Are pests destroying your garden? Maybe you should just. . . move!

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

Biologists know there are more species of everything near the lush equator. Which means lots of plants — and animals to eat them, like hungry caterpillars! So how do the tropics stay so green?!

Enter Tomas Roslin from the University of Helsinki. He and his team of scientists, wondered: Are caterpillars near the equator at greater risk of being attacked by predators?

To find out, they glued fake caterpillars onto plants across six continents. Whenever a critter bit the clay caterpillar, it left a mark. Counting the marks revealed how often a REAL caterpillar would have been attacked.

They found that there is A LOT more predation at the equator than near the poles. Caterpillars are eight times more likely to be attacked at the equator than in Greenland. Great news for plants!

So who’s eating the caterpillars? Birds? Mammals? NEITHER!

The imprints revealed that arthropods, like ants and spiders, were the most voracious caterpillar killers.

It’s pest control that’s all-natural! Ew.