Saturday, 1 March 2014

Caterpillar - Hairy Cats & Leaf Attacks

A lime green caterpillar with black stripes and yellow dots eating a plant
A rather dashing caterpillar indeed
(photo by Tinkerbrad)

 CATERPILLAR

Noun. Late Middle English.
[Perhaps from Anglo-Norman variant of Old French chatepelose literally 'hairy cat', influenced by obsolete PILLER 'ravager'.]

1 The larva of a butterfly or moth;
loosely any of the similar larvae of various insects. LME

2 figurative. A rapacious person; one who preys on society. Now rare or obsolete. M16

3 singular & (usually) in plural. Any of several Mediterranean plants of the leguminous genus Scorpiurus,
with spirally curved pods. Also caterpillar plant. L16

4 (Also capitalised as Caterpillar) (Proprietary name for) a vehicle with an endless articulated steel band
(Caterpillar track, Caterpillar tread, etc.) passing round and worked by two wheels, for travelling on rough ground. E20

A hairy Knot Grass caterpillar on the page of a book
As well as being voracious eaters, caterpillars are voracious readers too
(photo by John Proctor)
Caterpillar - probably from Old French chatepelose which means 'hairy cat'. Granted, some caterpillars are jolly hairy, but one wonders if the numbnuts that named them had ever actually seen a cat. Or a caterpillar. Bizarrely, this catty comparison exists in other languages too - in Swiss German a caterpillar is a Teufelskatz, which literally means 'devil's cat'.

Oh, hang on a second ... if I really squint ... and look at it when it's kind of dark ... no ... nope ... definitely not. I'm sorry, but a caterpillar looks absolutely nothing like a cat. Still, catlike or not (and they're not), caterpillars do metamorphose into breathtakingly beautiful butterflies, one of the most miraculous and awe-inspiring transformations in the natural world, so one can't hold too much against them (but, seriously, be careful about holding them, as they're often poisonous).

A (hairy) black and orange checkerspot butterfly caterpillar eating a flower
Oh here's one that looks like a cat! Oh no wait. It doesn't. At all.
(photo by Mike Baird)

What's 'caterpillar' in your language? 

Can you see the hairy cat?

Do please cater your pillar in the comment box below.

42 comments:

  1. Oh lordie. This brought back some not nice memories.
    Quite a few years back when we lived further south in a milder climate, we had an attack of tent caterpillars.
    It was a population explosion, and it was ugly!
    They were everywhere, and completely devoured the leaves on the trees.
    If you want to be grossed out, do a search for the little b*s*a*d*s!!

    Oh, and they have absolutely no likeness to cats!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww ... and yet the page I looked up on tent caterpillars described them as "sociable" creatures with "remarkable abilities". Oh, and it also said they could defoliate tens of thousands of acres of woodland in a single population bloom. Yeah, I can see how that would be irksome.

      Delete
  2. My husband tells me that the Dunbar caterpillar hunts other caterpillars. It chases them down, too. That's slightly cat-like. Mind you, the Water Veneer caterpillar lives under the water, and I've never comes across a cat that's a happy swimmer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is the Dunbar caterpillar hairy? If so, your husband might just have solved the riddle (even though I'm pretty sure it still won't look like a cat).

      Delete
    2. Unfortunately it seems to be green and naked. So unless cats have bogeys...

      Delete
  3. I've always found Caterpillars slightly unnerving. They may have beautiful designs like in the photos but there's something slightly sinister in the way they move about. Almost a Terminator like unstoppability to eat your prize begonias.

    I can't be the only one surely?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you're not ... I've been just a tad cautious of caterpillars ever since ...

      I was in Barbados staying with a family, and I happened to mention at breakfast that there had been a caterpillar in the shower when I went for my morning ablutions. Everyone immediately stopped talking and looked at me. "Oh it's OK," I said, "I picked it up and tossed it out the window." Eyes widened in my direction. "What colour was it?" they said. "Oh, it was multicoloured - red and orange and yellow. And very hairy too." Someone dropped their spoon with a loud clank (just for dramatic effect), and I'm pretty sure I heard a gasp. Apparently, I had handled a very dangerous caterpillar, the hairs of which can lodge in your eyes and mucous membranes, and the poison of which can initiate anaphylactic shock.

      Ever since then, I have indeed been just a little wary of caterpillars.

      Delete
    2. The caterpillar of the Oak Processionary Moth is poisonous, sometimes occurs in Britain, and its hairs can cause similar problems. When a nest is discovered in a tree they send for a man with a ladder and a can of hairspray. (I'm not making this up!)

      Delete
    3. In Belgium, when they're spotted, they burn the nests down with a flame thrower. True story.

      Delete
    4. Okay, not so true story. I probably was confused with this dream I might or might not have had where a flame thrower might or might not have been my choice of armour against filthy insectoids (I really, really do not like insects).

      Delete
    5. So in 2014 our most effective ways of dealing with caterpillars is either giving them a make-over or incinerating them with a flamethrower?

      Cool.

      Delete
  4. I loved caterpillars as a kid until one left some... residue... on my hand as it crawled along :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Kara ... you can't generalise against *all* caterpillars just because *you* happened to be handling the *one* caterpillar that wasn't house-trained ...

      Delete
  5. I read that during metamorphosis their innards completely break down into a sort of biological soup before reforming into a butterfly. Rather remarkable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clueless, this comment just led me to an internet search for various half-forgotten facts and research...until I stumbled across this article http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/caterpillars-innards-move-before-it-10-07-22/

      Caterpillars move by squishing their guts forward first, and then their outsides follow. AND they turn into goo when they metamorphose. So totally cool, and so totally yuck.

      Delete
    2. I wondered if the post-metamorphosis creature is, effectively, a different creature, but while researching caterpillars for this post I read somewhere that in some species there is evidence that the butterfly with remember certain things that it experienced in caterpillar form. I didn't have time to really go into that to confirm that it's true, but if it is, that's incredible.

      Delete
  6. Hairy cat? Hairy twig, more like. Or hairy bird poop. Cacapelose.

    Guess what a caterpillar is called in Dutch. Go on, do it. Imagine a caterpillar in your best possible Dutch. Bet you didn't call it a rups, eh? That is, however, what we call the little beastie. Rups.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rups is, coincidentally, the Norse word for when a warrior burps having eaten a caterpillar.

      Delete
    2. Aaaand ... just checking that in the OED ... oh yeah ... C's right ... it's related to the word 'rupture'.

      *coughs*

      Delete
  7. A few pet sitters offer overnight visits-where they sleep at your home. If your trip is long, ask them if they will call or email you every few days. thisispet.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. You completed certain reliable points there. I did a search on the subject and found nearly all persons will agree with your blog. here pets

    ReplyDelete
  9. The feline eye structure has the cornea, the lens, the retina, the iris, and the tapetum lucidum. The tapetum lucidum is a layer of mirror-like cells that reflect small amount of light, helping a cat to see. https://awesomecatstuff.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post yet I was thinking about whether you could compose a litte more on this subject? I'd be extremely grateful on the off chance that you could expound a smidgen further. Welcome it! airdrop wolves

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am definitely enjoying your website. You definitely have some great insight and great stories. leaf guards Raleigh

    ReplyDelete
  12. Somebody Sometimes with visits your online journal routinely and prescribed it as far as I can tell to peruse also. The method for composing is brilliant furthermore the substance is first rate. A debt of gratitude is in order for that knowledge you give the perusers! web

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for such a nice content. Apppreciate it :)
    Cheers
    If anyone interested similar one's have a look here https://petreviewz.com/ thanks

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is an incredible rousing article.I am basically satisfied with your great work.You put truly exceptionally accommodating data...  Stop Cat Spraying

    ReplyDelete
  15. Excellent and very exciting site. Love to watch. Keep Rocking. large cats

    ReplyDelete
  16. You have done a great job on this article. It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you.  How do i keep my cat out of my christmas tree

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your blog post very much. You have really shared a informative and interesting blog post with people.. túlméretes szállítás

    ReplyDelete
  18. فنحن نقوم بكافة أعمال التنظيف للشقق والفلل والقصور نعمل على تنظيف كافة المنزل بداية من الأرضيات سواء كانت بلاط أو سراميك أو رخام و أيضا نقوم بتنظيف فرش الأرضيات سواء موكيت أو سجاد بأكثر من طريقة سواء باستخدام البخار أو بجهاز الرغوة الالية أو باستخدام الفرشاة الاليه. كما نقوم بتنظيف الأثاث بأجود المواد التي لا تؤثر على درجة الالوان أو حالة الأخشاب كما نقوم بتلميع الزجاج ممها بلغ ارتفاعة.

    شركة غسيل موكيت بابها
    شركة عزل خزانات بابها
    شركة تنظيف خزانات المياه بابها
    شركة تنظيف كنب بابها
    شركة رش مبيدات بابها
    شركة رش مبيدات بابها
    شركة مكافحة الحشرات بابها

    ReplyDelete
  19. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! dog house for two dogs

    ReplyDelete
  20. I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people. hyperthyroidism in dogs medication

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! best dog harness for large dogs

    ReplyDelete
  22. This is just the information I am finding everywhere. Thanks for your blog, I just subscribe your blog. This is a nice blog.. extra large cat carrier

    ReplyDelete
  23. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. best cat food for cats with sensitive stomachs

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your blog post very much. You have really shared a informative and interesting blog post with people.. buying 50 instagram likes

    ReplyDelete
  25. I truly welcome this superb post that you have accommodated us. I guarantee this would be valuable for the vast majority of the general population. Reunificación de deudas

    ReplyDelete
  26. Nice to be visiting your blog again, it has been months for me. Well this article that i've been waited for so long. I need this article to complete my assignment in the college, and it has same topic with your article. Thanks, great share. cat spraying smell

    ReplyDelete
  27. The religion of peace named Islam is one among the mightiest religion in this world. And also the one that is misunderstood a lot for several reasons. Be it a propaganda of political or of economical unfolded at all times. Our mission is to spread truth about islam by clearing entire misconceptions and to disseminate virtuous good deeds that the Muslims actually practice.Islam, one among largest religions in the world also the one that is misunderstood all time. There are several sources including political, economic & media, framed Islam as misleading religion. And the truth about muslims are always hidden from the light.

    ReplyDelete