All living creatures instinctively seek nourishment for survival, but as Tufts University biologists have discovered, caterpillar movement is literally led by the gut. The investigation will prove to enlighten other scientific spheres as well.
The study’s coauthors, Michael Simon and Barry Trimmer, have observed hawkmoth caterpillar movement with the help of a tiny treadmill and high-intensity X-rays. Through a number of tests they detected a distinctive wavelike movement of the insect’s body with a range of motion unmistakably initiated by the stomach. Not only has this research proven revealing for the biological field, but it is influencing the science of robotics as engineers work to explore different ranges of mechanical movement.