Figure 1: Danaus plexipuss





Near-field hearing

Many species of caterpillars have been observed to respond to sound, but there has been limited formal study of this phenomenon.

One model organism is the late instar caterpillar of Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexipuss).  Caterpillars respond to low frequency sounds by freezing, contracting their heads, and vigorously flicking their thorax in a vertical direction. Sensory receptors have been identified as filiform trichoid sensilla located the thorax and abdomen.

Ongoing studies on hearing in caterpillars involve identifying novel receptors and sound-mediated behaviours in different species, performing neural recordings of the sensory cells, identifying projection patterns to the central nervous system, and studying the functional significance of near field hearing.

Figure 2: Automeris io


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