Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Caterpillars
Name: Hannah M.
Status: student
Age: 6
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: June 5, 2001


Question:
Why do some caterpillars have spikes on their backs? Also, I found some caterpillars and caterpillar eggs in my tree today. I put the branches with eggs in a jar so I can be a scientist and look at them. I put three caterpillars in a different jar with leaves and branches so I can watch them too. Can I keep the jars in my kitchen or where should I keep them? Do I need to put water in the jars or fresh leaves? Is there any thing else I need to know to take care of them?

Hannah M.
Kindergarten student
Ely, Nevada


Replies:
Hi dear Hannah!

you are indeed becoming a scientist! isnt that nice? Caterpillars have spikes in their backs to defend themselves to be attacked or eaten by other insects ( or bigger animals) . It is possible to keep your caterpillars in jars with leaves, the same kind where you found them. Let also some drops of water over the leaves and at the botton of the jar. If you want to keep them for a few days you should close the jar but let some openings so they can have air to breath. Observe them for a while , i cannot assure you that the eggs will hatch beeing in a strange environnement. The caterpillars are very voracious, that means they eat a lot, i mean a lot! So put a lot of leaves. So far, so good. But you know, maybe they will die soon because a jar is not their real place! In the mean time observe well these little beeings. Are not others in the tree where you can check also? But be very careful. Do not touch them with your bare hands. They can bite you!

And...why not tell us about your findings on caterpillars? Write back to that same adress. We will be very glad to hear from our little scientist.

Mabel
(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)


Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory