Hyposmocoma

Hyposmocoma

Hyposmocoma is a large and diverse genus of moths and caterpillars with 350 known species that have adapted to nearly every ecological niche on the Hawaiian Islands. Most species have plant-based diets. Four species of Hyposmocoma (one is Hyposmocoma molluscivora) have just been discovered to spin silk that they use to capture snails, on which they prey. These are the first caterpillars known to eat snails or mollusks of any kind.

"It's really remarkable—even within a diverse genus it's remarkable," said Daniel Rubinoff, an entomologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who led the team that discovered the caterpillar's dietary habits.

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