The answer is no. Caterpillars do not smell. They are older than the vertebrate animals, which have noses and can smell.
Insects, in general, do not have a nose to smell with. They don’t have a nose to breathe with either. Instead, they have spiracles which are holes in their exoskeleton through which air enters and exits their body.
Some insects, like bees and butterflies, have what are called antennae. The antennae of most insects do not function in the same way as a nose for other animals with a nervous system, such as caterpillars or humans. It does not detect odors or smells but detects vibrations and chemicals in the air. This helps them to find food and mates and avoid predators.
Do caterpillars have noses?
Caterpillars have a lot of work to do, so it makes sense that they don’t have noses. They’re too busy eating leaves, and then spinning cocoons, and then building chrysalises, and then molting into butterflies.
The answer is no. Caterpillars don’t have noses. Or eyes, or wings. They do have lots of tiny little feet, but those are called prolegs, which are different from leg-legs. Also, they have mandibles, which are kind of like teeth but not really. There are lots of interesting body parts on caterpillars.
Do caterpillars smell bad?
Yes, caterpillars smell bad. They have bad perfumes, which are exerted when the caterpillar is threatened by a predator.
The bad smell of some caterpillars is not due to their diet but how they use it. The caterpillars of the miller moth (Cecropia moth) and the Io moth have bad-smelling glands on their bodies that secrete foul-tasting compounds to repel predators. These toxins may be distasteful or even poisonous to potential predators.
Some caterpillars even have specialized scent scales to help them stink up their enemies.
Do caterpillars smell like lavender?
Caterpillars don’t smell like lavender. In fact, the concept of a caterpillar with a lavender scent is just preposterous.
The sense of smell in humans and animals is based on the perception and recognition of certain molecules called odorants. These odorants exist as gases, and they are detected by specialized nerve cells in an animal’s body. The olfactory system converts these signals into perceptions that we experience as smells. Smells are often associated with emotions and memories, which is why smells are so powerful to us.
The molecules that make up lavender oil (or any other plant oil) are primarily made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. These atoms form rings and chains that have various functional groups on them, such as alcohols or esters (which give natural oils their fragrant smells).
These functional groups are responsible for giving lavender oil its characteristic smell when they bind to the odorant receptors in our noses. But vertebrates only have a few hundred odorant receptors, so most of the odors we smell come from combinations of just a few receptors binding to select odorants or functional groups on those molecules.
Caterpillars do not have noses to smell with. This is because they are insects, which are invertebrates. They have a different nervous system to vertebrates such as humans, which includes a brain, spinal cord, and a thin nerve tube running along the back.