Amphibious Caterpillars Can Live Underwater for Weeks

Creature may breathe through bodily pores
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2010 8:37 AM CDT
Amphibious Caterpillars Can Live Underwater for Weeks
This guy looks positively plain next to the new, amphibious caterpillars found in Hawaii.   (AP Photo/Dean Fosdick, File)

(Newser) – Researchers in Hawaii have discovered several species of caterpillars that live underwater for weeks at at time. What's more remarkable is that insects don't have gills—or hold their breath. Other amphibious creatures that survive under water store oxygen in their lungs. These guys don't. "I couldn't believe it," says one scientist of the unusual find.

It is still unclear how, exactly, these caterpillars breathe, notes the Los Angeles Times. Since they drown in still water, researchers believe they may have evolved to capture the higher levels of oxygen present in moving streams through bodily pores. It is a remarkable adaption that has at least one scientist wondering, "Do all animals have that potential?"

(Read more Caterpillar stories.)

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