Real-Life Smoking Caterpillar Uses Nicotine as Defense

In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” a hookah-smoking caterpillar puffs out colorful words and boasts “a very good height,” at just 3 inches tall.

Like something out of Alice in Wonderland,  scientists have discovered a smoking caterpillar! View: Real-Life Smoking Caterpillar Uses Nicotine as Defense.

“While this find may not push Alice’s hookah-smoking insect from its psychedelic pedestal, this caterpillar is pretty snazzy, as it can use nicotine to ward off hungry wolf spiders.

The researchers found a gene in hornworm caterpillars that allows them to puff nicotine out through their spiracles (tiny holes in their sides), from the tobacco they consume, as a warning to their would-be predators. Researchers called this tactic “defensive halitosis.” [Video – See the Smoking Caterpillars in Action]“

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