Yes, most caterpillars do spin cocoons. There are a few exceptions, however. Some skipper butterflies and some moths do not spin cocoons. Instead, these insects form a chrysalis.
When the caterpillar is ready to turn into a butterfly or moth, it stops eating and spins a protective covering around itself. This covering may be a cocoon or chrysalis. Caterpillars that form chrysalises are called “naked” because the pupa (the stage between caterpillar and adult) is visible through the brownish-yellow shell of the chrysalis.
Most caterpillars spin cocoons out of silk produced by glands within their bodies. The silk is secreted through spinnerets near the mouth of the caterpillar and hardens when it comes into contact with air. The larva wraps itself in layers of silk to form its cocoon. A typical cocoon is made up of several hundred yards of silk thread!
Do all caterpillars spin cocoons?
Are all caterpillars the same? No. Do all caterpillars spin cocoons? Yes. Do all caterpillars metamorphose? No.
So, caterpillars are not all the same, but they do have certain things in common. The first is that they are larvae of butterflies and moths.
All caterpillars start life as eggs, laid on plant leaves by a butterfly or moth. When the egg hatches, it produces a tiny caterpillar or larva that eats its own eggshell to get the energy it needs to grow. It then starts eating the leaves of its host plant, usually from the inside, so that it grows well hidden from predators.
As it eats, it grows and sheds its skin several times as it reaches its adult size, filling out before pupating into an adult butterfly or moth.
Do caterpillars spin webs?
Yes, at times, caterpillars do spin webs. Caterpillars create silk from the salivary glands in their mouth. They use the silk to attach themselves to leaves and help them move more efficiently. Some species of caterpillar will even use the silk to create a protective cocoon for themselves to molt into a pupa (chrysalis).
Some Caterpillars will begin building a tent in the fork of a tree, but as they leave the tent to feed on new leaves, a silken strand follows them and enlarges the web as the caterpillar eats.
In conclusion, a caterpillar’s cocoon is soft silk covering spun from the silk and other materials that it produces. As the name suggests, the cocoon protects the caterpillar from predators as it develops into its next stage of life as a butterfly or moth.