Caterpillars employ many strategies to survive. Many use crypsis — or blending in with their surroundings. Coloration, shape, or even attaching bits of plant matter helps conceal them. Some use disruptive colors and bold patterns to serve as a warning. Strategies such as dropping off a plant at the least disturbance, or hanging from a belay line, also help caterpillars survive. Other behavioral actions such as feigning an attempt to bite, regurgitating, making a noise, or even enlisting the help of other insects to defend them help caterpillars survive.
Many use hairs or bristles called setae to disguise the outline of the caterpillar. Some of those hairs are loaded with potent chemicals that can cause a painful stinging sensation.
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