Hello, hello. I hope you’re having a great day. Really? Because I was having a great day, until I discovered caterpillar legs.

We have already written about the fact that spots on the outside of strawberries These are not actually seedsand revealed that the knot on the end of a banana isn’t what you might think.

And now, after reading a paper published earlier this month in Science Advances , it seems that caterpillar legs aren’t really legs (what?). So we thought we’d share with you how they move and what those “legs” actually are.

Instead of legs, caterpillars have what are called “prolegs.”

Unlike the true legs they will develop as adults, caterpillars have what scientists call “prolegs.”

In fact, the stumps that contain what will become the caterpillar’s “real” legs as a butterfly (the thoracic legs) aren’t even used as legs ― instead, they’re all grouped together on the caterpillar’s face.

What appear to us to be legs are actually the six “fake legs” underneath. These are sort of bumps that don’t actually propel the creature forward, but are actually just accessories to the whole mobile device.

Rather than being a propulsion device, the caterpillar’s legs (am I saying? OK) are more like anchors. The creature propels itself forward by contracting the muscles in its main body, then propelling itself forward.

Their “legs” have a barbed pad called a hook on their pads, which sticks to leaves and twigs to make sure they don’t fall off (huh!).

Scientists were not sure whether the caterpillars’ “prolegs” were derived from a now-extinct real leg, were a modified real leg, or were a special feature.

So the study was studied and published. The researchers discovered that the genes responsible for a caterpillar’s little prolegs are the same ones that create the legs of crustaceans.


The caterpillars’ prolegs are “novel,” the researchers say. But they are “likely derived from an ancient endite (crustacean leg node) gene regulatory network (GRN).”

So if you ever get the chance to get up close and personal with a caterpillar’s legs, enjoy it while you can: it’s the only creature that literally walks on lies.