BIO 203

Habitat and Interations

Where would I find a L. obliqua caterpillar? 
    The L. obliqua likes the warm tropical weather with very warm temperatures and high humidity. They need the warmth for their growth development from larva to an adult moth. The only region that the L. obliqua are found is in the southern regions in Brazil (Lorini et al. 2007).  A large Open source Usemajority of reports of contact with the caterpillar have been reported to the wildlife department of Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Caterina states, but they are gradually moving south towards northern Venezuela (Schmitberger et al. 2013 and Lorini et al. 2007).

Why are they becoming popular in the cities of Brazil?
    Within the past ten years, there has been an increase of incidences with the caterpillar because of environmental issues. There has been deforestation in the original habitats of the caterpillar, so they moved towards the cities. The caterpillar prefers to live on the indigenous trees of the regions near the Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Caterina states in Brazil. Since the habitat the caterpillar prefer was being torn down, they were forced to migrate slowly towards the fruit trees near the highly populated urban area which is becoming a problem. For now they are in great numbers in the rural areas just outside some of the cities but that is slowly changing (Schmitberger et al. 2013).
The surprising mutualism?
            Since the caterpillar is so poisonous and scary for most animals to interfere with, the caterpillar to an extent protects the trees that it lives on. The trees are protected from the birds or other insects that may harm the tree. L. obliqua prefer at times to live in groups and at some moments there could be more than 20 caterpillars occupying one spot on a tree, which would be very intimidating for any animal that may want to get on the tree and start to drill a hole in it. In this case, the caterpillars get the food and shelter they need, and the tree gets protection from any possible danger that they have very little ways to defend against (Veiga et al. 2001).Copyright Used with permission













How do they act with others?
    Due to the venomous spines that the L. obliqua have, they do not interact well with other animals. If an animal were to be stabbed by the spines, they could have many fatal medical issues. If a predator were to try and eat the caterpillar, the odds of the predator living would be very slim because the venom is so poisonous. Due to evolutionary learning, the caterpillar has very few if any predators because of their spines being so toxic (Carrijo-Carvalho and Chudzinski-Tavassi 2007). When it comes to human interaction, it has increased dramatically due to the migration of the caterpillars. The humans fall victims to the unknown dangers and can be seriously injured. The cases of hospitalizations from L. obliqua stings has gone up while the awareness and education of the dangers have stayed the same (Schmitberger et al. 2013). To learn more about the legendary venom, you can go on to the page Venom.  

But before you get ahead of yourself, look at the adaptaions!