MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Do catepillars have noses

Date: Sat Jul 2 14:49:08 2011
Posted By: Will Higgs, Consultant
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 1309365447.Zo

It all depends on what you mean by a nose. If you mean a projection from
the head through which the animal breathes and smells odours, like a mammal
nose, then the answer is no.  Insects are less cephalised than mammals. 
This means that their important sensory organs are not clustered upon the
head to the same extent as they are in a mammal, some sensory organs may be
distributed along the body or on the feet.

Caterpillars can smell and taste their environment, which they need to do
in order to find their food plant, and stay on it. On their heads, around
the mouthparts, most caterpillars have chemoreceptive sensilla, organs
sensitive to certain chemicals similar to our taste buds or the sensory
nerve endings in our nose.  They breathe through spiracles, small holes
along the sides of their body which connect to a network of air tubes
distributing oxygen throughout their body.

Caterpillars do not have a nose in the same sense as you or I, but they do
have the same abilities to taste, smell and breathe through organs
distributed around their bodies.

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