Caterpillars do poop. While moths and butterflies have a long, thin tube called an abdomen through which the waste passes, caterpillars have a tube-like anus (called the proctodeum) that excretes waste.
Caterpillar poop is called frass and is often used to determine what type of caterpillar you have in your garden. If you’re looking for a way to get rid of caterpillars, you can try collecting their frass and dropping it into soapy water. The frass will stink up the water and deter other caterpillars from feeding on your plants.
The first thing to know is that caterpillars are like little eating machines. They eat, they poop, they eat some more, and they poop some more.
According to the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web (ADW), caterpillars defecate in the angles formed by leaves and stems. Some make their own pooping place by spinning silk threads into a leafy shelter that allows them to do their business in private.
What does caterpillars’ poop look like?
The brown or blackish pellets that caterpillars leave behind are called frass.
Caterpillar poop is tiny, black spheres resembling peppercorns. Frass can tell you a lot about the type of caterpillar you’re observing.
If the frass forms in little loose piles beneath the plant, instead of being neatly arranged in a pile as if “raked” together, then it is from a young caterpillar. If it’s from a larger caterpillar, the frass maybe green (from eating grass) or white (from eating milkweed). The color of the frass will also depend on what the caterpillar has been feeding on.
How do caterpillars defecate?
A caterpillar’s droppings, which are called frass, get dumped in the corn plant next to the stem and actually trigger the plant to release its defensive enzymes. That leaves the caterpillar free to chew away on leaves.
Caterpillars do have some different methods of dumping their waste, though. Some species have frass-kicking legs right behind their mouths that make them look like they’re making snow angels in their own crap. Others simply drop off their feces as they move around.
Where do caterpillars poop?
Caterpillar poop is usually dropped onto a leaf below the one being eaten. It looks like a tiny pellet of excrement, but it’s actually called frass. The frass accumulates below the plant or tree and eventually drops to the ground, where it is further broken down by microorganisms into nutrients for other plants and animals.
Thus, Caterpillars eat leaves, but when they are done digesting the leaves, their poop, called frass, is left behind in the form of droppings. These droppings are often used to determine what kind of caterpillar you have in your garden.