Wasps are some of the worst enemies of caterpillars. They are constantly seeking them to feed their young. Many wasps are superb at controlling insect pests. I would think twice before hurting one of them; they are our friends. Without them, there would be population explosions of plant-eating caterpillars.
|Leaf-roller caterpillar and its frass|
|Tiny black dots of frass hurled by caterpillar|
The curious thing is that many moths and butterflies belonging to different families have come up with the same poop-flinging solution to hide from predators. Among them there is a skipper that you may probably have seen visiting flowers, the silver spotted skipper. It gets its name from the brilliant spot on its hind wings. When this skipper was a caterpillar it regularly shot cannon balls of its own frass as far as a couple of yards away. How about that!
(by Malcom NQ, Flickr)
|Leaf beetle larva hiding under its poop|
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© Beatriz Moisset. 2012