Meet the World’s Most Terrifying Caterpillar

When you think of a caterpillar, you probably picture a cute, chubby little critter, chewing on leaves and dreaming of becoming a butterfly. But the whip-fast, razor clawed Hawaiian inchworm is here to challenge those stereotypes.
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Sources:
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00218529
http://hawaiianforest.com/wp/hawaiian-carnivorous-caterpillar-eupithecia/
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/S0013873814010114
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/309/5734/575
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/evo.12599/abstract
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Caption: [music]. when you hear the word caterpillar you . probably think of a hungry little chubby . grubby thing happily chowing down on. some leaves but the hawaiian inchworm . also known as the ambush caterpillar. might change your mind because when it . arrived in paradise it ditched it's . peaceful vegan diet for razor-sharp. claws a sensitive hair trigger and a . taste for meat specifically live bug . meat the first thing that's weird about . these guys is that islands are often . home to gentler forms of life a tendency. known as island tameness that's because . the vast majority of species don't make . the dangerous trek across waterways so . those that do find themselves in a . habitat free from their usual. competitors and predators where they can . start a new more relaxed lifestyle and . take up surfing hawaiian raspberries . ditched their thorns for example no . point in being thorny if there are no. mammals you need to fend off somehow . though hawaii's inchworms didn't get the. memo for them the lack of insect eaters . was an opportunity there were just so . many bugs around and pretty much no one . else was eating them they were already . used to a somewhat protein-rich diet . because of their fondness for pollen. over leaves and like other caterpillars . they were equipped with powerful jaws . for chewing tough plant material at some. point probably within the last hundred . million years or so they started to use . those jaws to chew insects instead no . one noticed these caterpillars unusual . eating habits until the 1970s when a . biologist named stephen montgomery saw. one chewing on a fly slightly confused . he brought the animal back to the lab . for two days it just sat there and . didn't take so much as a single bite of . the leaf it clung to so on a hunch he . threw a fruit fly in with the . caterpillar and then the fly made the . mistake of bumping into the caterpillars . backside there are other inch worms that . rear up and snap their bodies . defensively but when prey touches a. hawaiian inchworm it goes on the attack . whipping around to grab its meal with . the six sharp claws attached to its legs . after that it's all over for the prey . even though it probably is not dead yet . it's lunch time for the caterpillar . there are a few other types of . carnivorous caterpillars almost all of . which are native to hawaii but the . ambush caterpillar is definitely the. most violent agloe second is probably . html us cavalry . eat snails by wrapping them in silk . while they're sleeping and then eating . them alive once they can't escape which . is less violent but more creepy but at . least it's not a living whip with . terrifyingly sharp claws so thanks . hawaiian inchworms for the nightmares . and thank you for watching this episode . of scishow if you would like to learn . more about the bizarre world in which we . live you can keep up with our latest . episodes by going to youtube. com/scishow. and subscribe. [music]. you. [music]. .
 

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