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Rolling locomotion aids escape: mother-of-pearl moth caterpillar


Motyl IMG 3035 / Tomasz Górn.. / LicenseGFDL - Gnu Free Document License

The body of the mother-of-pearl moth caterpillar escapes predators by anchoring its tail, recoiling, and rolling backwards.

"The mother-of-pearl caterpillar, however, can step on the accelerator. If it meets a predator, it anchors its rear to the ground, recoils rapidly, and then rolls away backward like a bright-green tire. Mouth to tail, it completes around half a dozen revolutions during its escape. By turning into a wheel, the caterpillar moves some 40 times faster than its normal walking pace." (Downer 2002:22)
About the inspiring organism
Med_ca6ba2d4734c4f6206a1572f2d95270b Pleuroptya ruralis
Pleuroptya ruralis Scopoli 1763

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: LepIndex: The Global Lepidoptera Names Index
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Anchor mechanism in loose soil, recoil mechanism for packaging, or for energy storage.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Transport, manufacturing, packaging

Downer, J. 2002. Weird Nature: An Astonishing Exploration of Nature's Strangest Behavior. Ontario: Firefly Books.
Learn More at Google Scholar Google Scholar  


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over 3 years ago
Thank you for this and your other suggestions. We are taking these requests into account to the best of our abilities as we make improvements to AskNature!
over 3 years ago
A short video, please, showing how the creature accomplishes what you describe.
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