1. In the original version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the bug is cute and cuddly.
2. Bollworms are very hungry caterpillars, and they’re not cute and cuddly
Helicoverpa armigera is a very hungry caterpillar, and it’s not cute and cuddly - it’s an invasive pest which ruins the lives of poor farmers.
3. Spikes help
Because plants face a great threat from insects, they have developed strategies to reduce insect damage. Spikes and hairs called trichomes make life difficult for hungry caterpillars.
4. But plants also use defensive chemicals to stay alive
Jasmonic acid and salicylic acid are the most important plant hormones involved in turning these chemicals on. By treating plants with these chemicals, which are harmless to the environment, scientists were able to increase the number of hairs on the surface of plants.
5. This made the hungry bollworm moths go elsewhere to lay their eggs
This make the plants and the farmers happy. A win for the plant kingdom!
War, A. R., Hussain, B., & Sharma, H. C. (2013). Induced resistance in groundnut by jasmonic acid and salicylic acid through alteration of trichome density and oviposition by Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner)(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). AoB Plants, 1-19.