By Robin Red Breast
I’m already drooling just thinking of these gooey little mouthfuls. The great thing about caterpillars, aside from the gooeyness, is the fact that they are slow moving and easy to spot. This however does not mean that they are without defense. Often times they have spikes, poison, and fowl tastes. However, after you recognize which ones are good for eating, all you have to do is wait for caterpillar season!
Step 1: DefensesCaterpillars rely heavily on external defense mechanisms such as false faces, spikes, horns, and poisonous or fowl tasting secretions. It is important that you identify the caterpillar as an edible type before horking that chubby sack of goo down your greedy gullet.
Step 2: RecognitionOnce you’ve honed in on a caterpillar, get as close to it as possible without touching it. Take a good look at it and ask yourself these questions:
Is it covered in little hairs?
Does it have spikes or horns?
Does it glisten or emit an odd smell?
Is the end I’m looking at just holding the leaf? (Caterpillars are constantly devouring vegetation, so if the “face” you are examining isn’t, it’s probably not the face at all!)
These are basic questions to help you decide if it is edible. If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, DO NOT EAT this caterpillar! Do I need to explain why? Just trust me!!
Step 3: DinnerIf your prospect has passed the identification test and is safe to eat, than get to it!! If it has not, keep searching till you find one that does.
Ok guys, for the sake of the novices out there I guess I’ll detail why each of the above questions is important.
First off: a caterpillar covered in hairs is not only disgustingly dry and likely to get stuck in your throat on the way down, but it is potentially able to jab your delicate throat or mouth linings when you decide you made a mistake and try to regurgitate it. They can also contain poisonous compounds. So just don’t eat them!!
Secondly: if a caterpillar has spikes or horns, it likely will be able to secrete poison or bitterness from said pointies. Not to mention that it interferes with their slurpability.
Thirdly: How many times do I have to stress this? If the caterpillar is shiny with wetness, or stinks to high heaven, it is poisonous or at the very least, fowl tasting. Don’t waste your time on such filth.
Lastly: False faces- this is a trick some caterpillars use to preserve their measly little lives and it follows them into their moth form later in their life cycle. Now what difference does it make? You don’t want to begin eating the caterpillar from the butt end because they’ll snap off their lower segments in order preserve their delicious vital organs!! Often times, falling from the canopy of the trees never to be found by you again. I don’t think I need to stress the disgust of having a caterpillar snap in your face. It’s gross. You’ll get laughed at. Please, properly identify the proper face before you devour your caterpillar dinner.