A perimeter defence in Australian processionary caterpillars (2021–2025)

Microscopic, detachable hairs on processionary caterpillars cause clinical reactions when they enter the skin or internal tissues of humans and animals. There is a time delay between exposure and the most serious effects, inferring an action more complex than simple irritation. The project aims to test a novel mechanism ¿ how the hairs form a perimeter defence around caterpillars that primes the immune system of potential predators, how these hairs function within the layered caterpillar defensive system and how far setae can disperse. The research will inform relevant authorities and in particular veterinarians of the risks being exposed to processionary caterpillar hairs and add to the theory of predator-prey interaction.
Grant type:
ARC Discovery Projects
Funded by:
Australian Research Council