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Encyclopedia > Caterpillar

Caterpillars are the larval form of a member of the order Lepidoptera (the insect order comprising butterflies and moths). They are mostly phytophagous in food habit, with some species being entomophagous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered pests in agriculture. Many moth species are better known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce. A larval insect A larva (Latin; plural larvae) is a juvenile form of animal with indirect development, undergoing metamorphosis (for example, insects or amphibians). ... In scientific classification used in biology, the order (Latin: ordo, plural ordines) is a rank between class and family (termed a taxon at that rank). ... Subdivisions See Taxonomy of Lepidoptera and Lepidopteran diversity. ... Orders Subclass Apterygota Archaeognatha (bristletails) Thysanura (silverfish) Subclass Pterygota Infraclass Paleoptera (Probably paraphyletic) Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Superorder Exopterygota Grylloblattodea (ice-crawlers) Mantophasmatodea (gladiators) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Embioptera (webspinners) Zoraptera (angel insects) Dermaptera (earwigs) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, etc) Phasmatodea (stick insects) Blattodea (cockroaches) Isoptera (termites) Mantodea (mantids) Psocoptera... Superfamilies and families Superfamily Hedyloidea: Hedylidae Superfamily Hesperioidea: Hesperiidae Superfamily Papilionoidea: Papilionidae Pieridae Nymphalidae Lycaenidae Riodinidae A butterfly is an insect of the order Lepidoptera. ... For other uses, see Moths. ... Phagy or phagia is an ecological term that is used to identify particular nutritional systems. ... Entomophagy is the habit of eating insects as food. ... Carpet beetle larvae damaging a specimen of Sceliphron destillatorius in an entomological collection A pest is an organism which has characteristics that are regarded as injurious or unwanted. ... For other uses, see Species (disambiguation). ...


The etymological origins of the word are from the late 1400s, from Middle English catirpel, catirpeller, probably an alteration of Old North French catepelose : cate, cat (from Latin cattus) + pelose, hairy (from Latin pilōsus). [1] Middle English is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the... Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories corresponding roughly to the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from around 1000 to 1300. ...

Contents

Anatomy

Most caterpillars have tubular, segmented bodies. They have three pairs of true legs on the three thoracic segments, up to four pairs of prolegs on the middle segments of the abdomen, and often a single pair of prolegs on the last abdominal segment. There are ten abdominal segments. The families of lepidoptera differ in the numbers and positioning of the prolegs. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The abdomen in a human and an ant. ...

A geometrid caterpillar or inchworm
A geometrid caterpillar or inchworm

Caterpillars grow through a series of moults; each intermediate stage is called an instar. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2048 × 1536 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2048 × 1536 pixel, file size: 1. ... Author: Leach, 1815 Type species: Geometra papilionaria (large emerald moth) Diversity: 2,000? genera 26,000 species Subfamilies Alsophilinae Archiearinae Desmobathrinae Ennominae Geometrinae Larentiinae Oenochrominae Orthostixinae Sterrhinae Genera Geometra (etc) Inchworm redirects here. ... Ecdysis is the molting of the cuticula in arthropods and related groups (Ecdysozoa). ... An instar is a developmental stage of arthropods, such as insects, between each molt. ...


Like all insects, caterpillars breathe through a series of small openings along the sides of their thorax and abdomen called spiracles. These branch into the body cavity into a network of tracheae. A few caterpillars of the family Pyralidae are aquatic and have gills that let them breathe underwater.[2] Spiracles are small openings on the surface of animals that usually lead to respiratory systems. ... Author: Latreille, 1802 Type species: Pyralis farinalis Diversity: ? genera 6,150 species Subfamilies Chrysauginae Epipaschiinae Galleriinae Nymphulinae Phycitinae Pyralinae The Pyralidae or snout-moths are a family of Lepidoptera (moths). ...


Caterpillars have 4,000 muscles (compare humans, with 629). They move through contraction of the muscles in the rear segments pushing the blood forward into the front segments elongating the torso. The average caterpillar has 248 muscles in the head segment alone.


Senses

Caterpillars have good vision. They have a series of six tiny eyelets or 'stemmata' on each side of the lower portion of their head. These can probably form well focused, but poorly resolved images.[3] They move their heads from side to side probably as a means of judging distance of objects, particularly plants. They rely on their short antennae to help them locate food. A stemma (plural stemmata) is a simple eye which is only capable of detecting light. ... Insects display a wide variety of antennal shapes. ...


Some caterpillars are able to detect vibrations, usually at a specific frequency. Caterpillars of the common hook-tip moth, Drepana arcuata (Drepanoidea) produce sounds to defend their silk nests from members of their own species,[4] by scraping against the leaf in a ritualized acoustic duel. They detect the vibrations conducted by the plant and not air-borne sounds. Similarly, cherry leaf rollers Caloptilia serotinella defend their rolls.[5] Tent caterpillars can also detect vibrations at the frequency of wing beats of one of their natural enemies. [6]


Classification

The geometrids, also known as inchworms or loopers, are so named because of the way they move, appearing to measure the earth (the word geometrid means earth-measurer in Greek); the primary reason for this unusual locomotion is the elimination of nearly all the prolegs except the clasper on the terminal segment. Author: Leach, 1815 Type species: Geometra papilionaria (large emerald moth) Diversity: 2,000? genera 26,000 species Subfamilies Alsophilinae Archiearinae Desmobathrinae Ennominae Geometrinae Larentiinae Oenochrominae Orthostixinae Sterrhinae Genera Geometra (etc) Inchworm redirects here. ...


Caterpillars have soft bodies that can grow rapidly, like balloons, between moults. Only the head capsule is hardened. In caterpillars, the mandibles are tough and sharp for chewing leaves; in most adult Lepidoptera, the mandibles are highly reduced, or soft. Behind the mandibles of the caterpillar are the spinnerets, for manipulating silk. The mandible (from Latin mandibÅ­la, jawbone) or inferior maxillary bone is, together with the maxilla, the largest and strongest bone of the face. ... A spinneret is a spiders silk spinning organ. ...


Some larvae of the Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) order can appear like the caterpillars of the lepidoptera. These are mainly seen in the Sawfly family and while the larvae superficially resemble caterpillars, they can be distinguished by the presence of prolegs on every abdominal segment. Another difference is that lepidopteran caterpillars have crochets or hooks on the prolegs while these are absent on the sawfly larvae. Also in lepidopteran caterpillars is the upside down Y shaped suture on the front of the head.[3] The larvae of sawflies differ also in having prominent ocelli on the head capsule. Suborders Apocrita Symphyta Hymenoptera is one of the larger orders of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants. ... Superfamilies and families Superfamily Cephoidea    Family Cephidae (stem sawflies) Superfamily Megalodontoidea    Family Megalodontesidae    Family Pamphiliidae (leaf-rolling & web-spinning sawflies) Superfamily Orussoidea    Family Orussidae (parasitic wood wasps) Superfamily Siricoidea    Family Anaxyelidae (cedar wood wasps)    Family Siricidae (horntails) Superfamily Tenthredinoidea    Family Argidae (argid sawflies)    Family Blasticotomidae (fern sawflies)    Family Cimbicidae (cimbicid... For other uses, see Suture (disambiguation). ... Ocelli is one of the types of photoreceptor organs in animals. ...


Defenses

Many animals feed on caterpillars as they are protein rich, and caterpillars have evolved various defenses.


Appearance

Costa Rican hairy caterpillar.
Costa Rican hairy caterpillar.

Many caterpillars are cryptically coloured and resemble the plants on which they feed and may even have parts that mimic plant parts such as thorns. Some look like objects in the environment such as bird droppings. Many feed enclosed inside silk galleries, rolled leaves or by mining between the leaf surfaces. Caterpillars of Nemoria arizonaria that grow in spring feed on oak catkins and appear green. The summer brood however appear like oak twigs. The differential development is linked to the tannin content in the diet.[7] Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1003x668, 140 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Caterpillar Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used to create... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1003x668, 140 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Caterpillar Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used to create... Crypsis is a phenomena where an organisms appearance allows it to blend well into its environment. ... A mimic is any species that has evolved to appear similar to another successful species in order to dupe predators into avoiding the mimic, or dupe prey into approaching the mimic. ... Leaf miners are insect larvae that live within leaf tissue. ...


More aggressive self-defense measures are taken by caterpillars. These caterpillars have spiny bristles or long fine hair-like setae with detachable tips that will irritate by lodging in the skin or mucous membranes.[3] However, some birds, like cuckoos, will swallow even the hairiest of caterpillars. The most aggressive defenses are bristles associated with venom glands, called urticating hairs; a venom among the most potent defensive chemicals in any animals is produced by the South American silk moth genus Lonomia. It is an anticoagulant powerful enough to cause a human to hemorrhage to death (See Lonomiasis).[8] This chemical is being investigated for potential medical applications. Most urticating hairs however range in effect from mild irritation to dermatitis. Look up seta in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Genera See text. ... Wasp sting, with droplet of venom Venom (literally, poison of animal origin) is any of a variety of toxins used by animals, for the purpose of defense and hunting. ... Urtication, or flogging with nettles, is the process of deliberately applying stinging nettles to the skin in order to provoke inflammation or rash. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... Subfamilies Arsenurinae Ceratocampinae Hemileucinae Agliinae Ludiinae Salassinae Saturniinae The Saturniidae, collectively known as saturniids, are among the largest and most spectacular of the lepidoptera, with an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 different species existing worldwide. ... Species Lonomia obliqua Walker, 1855 many others The genus Lonomia is a moderate-sized group of fairly cryptic saturniid moths from South America, famous not for the adults, but for their amazingly venomous caterpillars, which are responsible for a few deaths each year, especially in southern Brazil, and the subject... An anticoagulant is a substance that prevents coagulation; that is, it stops blood from clotting. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Species Lonomia obliqua Walker, 1855 many others The genus Lonomia is a moderate-sized group of fairly cryptic saturniid moths from South America, famous not for the adults, but for their amazingly venomous caterpillars, which are responsible for a few deaths each year, especially in southern Brazil, and the subject... Dermatitis is a blanket term literally meaning inflammation of the skin. It is usually used to refer to eczema, which is also known as Dermatitis eczema. ...

Giant swallowtail caterpillar everting its osmeterium in defense
Giant swallowtail caterpillar everting its osmeterium in defense

Plants have evolved poisons to protect themselves from herbivores and some caterpillars have evolved countermeasures and eat the leaves of these toxic plants. In addition to being unaffected by the poison, they sequester it in their body, making them highly toxic to predators. These chemicals are also carried on into the adult stages. These toxic species, such as the Cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae) and monarch (Danaus plexippus) caterpillars, usually advertise themselves with brightly striped or coloured in black, red and yellow—the danger colours (see aposematism). Any predator that attempts to eat a caterpillar with an aggressive defence mechanism will learn and avoid future attempts. Binomial name Papilio cresphontes The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio cresphontes) is swallowtail butterfly common in various parts of North America, particularly the South and Southeast. ... Sequestration, the act of removing, separating or seizing anything from the possession of its owner, particularly in law, of the taking possession of property under process of law for the benefit of creditors or the state. ... Binomial name Tyria jacobaeae Linnaeus, 1748 The Cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae) is a brightly coloured arctiid moth, found in Europe and western and central Asia. ... Binomial name Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus, 1758) The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a well-known American butterfly. ... The bright colours of this Yellow-winged Darter dragonfly serve as a warning to predators of its noxious taste. ...


Some caterpillars regurgitate acidic digestive juices at attacking enemies. Many papilionid larvae produce bad smells from extrudable glands called osmeteria. Author: Latreille, 1802 Type species: Papilio machaon (Common Yellow Swallowtail) Diversity: 26 genera 605 species Genera Subfamily Baroniinae Baronia Subfamily Parnassiinae Archon Hypermnestra Parnassus Luehdorfia Bhutantis Alancastria Serecinus Subfamily Papilioninae Eurytides Graphium Iphiclides Lamproptera Mimoides Protesilaus Protographium Teinopalpus Atrophaneura Battus Byasa Cressida Euryades Losaria Ornithoptera Pachliopta Parides Pharmacophagus Trogonoptera Troides...


Caterpillars can evade predators by using a silk line and dropping off from branches when disturbed.


Some caterpillars obtain protection by associating themselves with ants. The Lycaenid butterflies are particularly well known for this. They communicate with their ant protectors by vibrations as well as chemical means [9] and typically provide food rewards. For other uses, see Ant (disambiguation). ... Subfamilies Curetinae - Sunbeams Liphyrinae Lipteninae Lycaeninae - Coppers Miletinae - Harvesters Polyommatinae - Blues Poritiinae Styginae (disputed) Theclinae - Hairstreaks, Elfins and see text The Lycaenidae are the second-largest family of butterflies, with about 6000 species worldwide, whose members are also called gossamer-winged butterflies. ...


Some caterpillars are gregarious; large aggregations are believed to help in reducing the levels of parasitization and predation.[10] Clusters amplify the signal of aposematic coloration, and individuals may participate in group regurgitation or displays. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


Behavior

A Pasture Day Moth caterpillar feeding on capeweed
A Pasture Day Moth caterpillar feeding on capeweed

Caterpillars have been called "eating machines", and eat leaves voraciously. Most species shed their skin four or five times as their bodies grow, and they eventually pupate into an adult form. Caterpillars grow very quickly; for instance, a tobacco hornworm will increase its weight ten-thousand-fold in less than twenty days. An adaptation that enables them to eat so much is a mechanism in a specialized midgut that quickly transports ions to the lumen (midgut cavity), to keep the potassium level higher in the midgut cavity than in the blood.[11] Binomial name Apina callisto Angas 1847 The Pasture Day Moth, Apina callisto (synonym Amazelo callisto), is, as its name implies, active during the day, making it unlike most other species in the Noctuidae family of moths. ... This article is about the organ. ... Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) pupa A pupa (Latin pupa for doll, pl: pupae or pupas) is the life stage of some insects undergoing transformation. ... Binomial name Manduca sexta Linnaeus, 1763 Tobacco hornworms (Manduca sexta) are moths of the Sphingidae family common throughout the American continent. ...


Most caterpillars are solely herbivorous. Many are restricted to one species of plant, while others are polyphagous. A few, including the clothes moth, feed on detritus. Most predatory caterpillars feed on eggs of other insects, aphids, scale insects, or ant larvae. Some are cannibals, and others prey on caterpillars of other species (e.g. Hawai'ian Eupithecia ). A few are parasitic on cicadas or leaf hoppers.[12] Some Hawai'ian caterpillars (Hyposmocoma molluscivora) use silk traps to capture snails.[13] A deer and two fawns feeding on some foliage A herbivore is often defined as any organism that eats only plants[1]. By that definition, many fungi, some bacteria, many animals, about 1% of flowering plants and some protists can be considered herbivores. ... Detritus may refer to: In geology, detritus is the name for loose fragments of rock that have been worn away by erosion. ... Eupithecia is a large genus of moths of the family Geometridae. ... Binomial name Hyposmocoma molluscivora (Rubinoff, 2005) The Snail Eating Caterpillar, Hyposmocoma molluscivora, is a Hawaiian moth whose larvae are predators, capturing snails in their silk, much like a hunting spiders web, and then crawling inside the snails shell to eat it alive. ...


Many caterpillars are nocturnal. For example, the "cutworms" (of the Noctuidae family) hide at the base of plants during the day and only feed at night. Others, such as gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) larvae, change their activity patterns depending on density and larval stage, with more diurnal feeding in early instars and high densities. Diversity 4,200 genera 35,000 species Type Species Noctua pronuba (Large Yellow Underwing) Subfamilies Acontiinae Acronictinae Aganainae Agaristinae Amphipyrinae Amphipyrinae Bagisarinae Bryophilinae Calpinae Catocalinae Cocytiinae Condicinae Cuculliinae Dilobinae Eucocytiinae Eustrotiinae Euteliinae Glottulinae Hadeninae Heliothinae Herminiinae Hypeninae Ipimorphinae Noctuinae Plusiinae Psaphidinae Raphiinae Stictopterinae Stiriinae Strepsimaninae Ufeinae The Noctuidae or Owlets... Binomial name Lymantria dispar Linnaeus, 1758 This article deals with the moth Lymantria dispar. ...


Economic effects

Caterpillar cause much damage, mainly by eating leaves. The cotton bollworm causes enormous losses. Other species eat food crops. Caterpillars have been the target of pest control through the use of pesticides, biological control and agronomic practices. Many species have become resistant to pesticides. Bacterial toxins such as those from Bacillus thuringiensis which are evolved to affect the gut of Lepidoptera have been used in sprays of bacterial spores, toxin extracts and also by incorporating genes to produce them within the host plants. These approaches are defeated over time by the evolution of resistance mechanisms in the insects. A cotton bollworm is a common term for any larva of a moth that attacks the fruiting bodies of the cotton plant. ... A crop duster applies low-insecticide bait that is targeted against Western corn rootworms Pest control refers to the regulation or management of another species defined as a pest, usually because it is believed to be detrimental to a persons health, the ecology or the economy Pest control is... A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substances used for preventing, controlling, or lessening the damage caused by a pest. ... Biological control of pests and diseases Overview A key belief of the organic gardener is that diversity furthers health. ... Agronomy is the science of utilizing plants for food, fuel, feed, and fiber. ... A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substances used for preventing, controlling, or lessening the damage caused by a pest. ... Binomial name Berliner 1915 Bacillus thuringiensis is a Gram-positive, soil dwelling bacterium of the genus Bacillus. ...


Plants evolve mechanisms of resistance to being eaten by caterpillars, including the evolution of chemical toxins and physical barriers such as hairs. Incorporating host plant resistance (HPR) through plant breeding is another approach used in reducing the impact of caterpillars on crop plants. Poison ivy produces urushiol to protect the plant from herbivores. ...


Some caterpillars are beneficial. The silk industry is based on the silkworm caterpillar. For other uses of this word, see Silk (disambiguation). ... Silkworm redirects here. ...


Health Effects

Caterpillar hair has been known to cause certain health effects. All species have small hairs that can irritate the skin, both through direct contact and from airborne hairs. Often, caterpillars produce venoms that are stored in these hairs as a defense against predators. Caterpillar species from approximately 12 families of moths or butterflies worldwide can inflict serious human injuries ranging from urticarial dermatitis and atopic asthma to osteochondritis, consumption coagulopathy, renal failure, and intracerebral hemorrhage.(Diaz 2005) Skin rashes are the most common, but there have been fatalities.


Caterpillar hairs have also been known to cause kerato-conjunctivitis. The sharp barbs on the end of Caterpillar hairs can get lodged in soft tissues and mucus membranes such as the eyes. Once they enter such tissues, they can be difficult to extract, often exacerbating the problem as they migrate across the membrane.(Patel et. al. 1973)


This becomes a particular problem in an indoor setting. The hairs easily enter buildings through ventilation systems and accumulate in indoor environments because their small size, which makes it difficult for them to be vented out. This accumulation increases the risk of human contact in indoor environments.(Balite et. al. 2001)


References

  1. ^ "caterpillar". Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/caterpillar (accessed: March 26, 2008).
  2. ^ Berg, Clifford O. 1950. Biology of Certain Aquatic Caterpillars (Pyralididae: Nymphula spp.) Which Feed on Potamogeton. Transactions of the American Microscopical Society. 69(3):254-266
  3. ^ a b c Scoble, MJ. 1995. The Lepidoptera: Form, function and diversity. Oxford Univ. Press.
  4. ^ Yack JE, Smith ML, and Weatherhead PJ. 2001. Caterpillar talk: Acoustically mediated territoriality in larval Lepidoptera. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 98 (20): 11371–11375.
  5. ^ Fletcher LE, Yack JE, Fitzgerald TD, Hoy RR . 2006. Vibrational communication in the cherry leaf roller caterpillar Caloptilia serotinella (Gracillarioidea : Gracillariidae). Journal of Insect Behavior 19 (1): 1–18.
  6. ^ Fitgerald, TD. 1995. The tent caterpillars. Cornell Univ. Press.
  7. ^ Greene, Erick (1989) A Diet-Induced Developmental Polymorphism in a Caterpillar. Science 243(4891):643-646 abstract
  8. ^ Malaque, Ceila M. S., Lúcia Andrade, Geraldine Madalosso, Sandra Tomy, Flávio L. Tavares, And Antonio C. Seguro. 2006. A case of hemolysis resulting from contact with a Lonomia caterpillar in southern Brazil. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 74(5): 807-809
  9. ^ Travassos, MA, and NE Pierce. 2000. Acoustics, context and function of vibrational signalling in a lycaenid butterfly–ant mutualism. Animal Behaviour 60: 13-26
  10. ^ Entry, Grant L. G., Lee A. Dyer. 2002. On the Conditional Nature Of Neotropical Caterpillar Defenses against their Natural Enemies. Ecology, 83(11):3108–3119
  11. ^ Chamberlin, M.E. and M.E. King (1998). Changes in midgut active ion transport and metabolism during the fifth instar of the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta). J.Exp.Zool. 280:135-141.
  12. ^ Pierce, N.E. 1995. Predatory and parasitic Lepidoptera: Carnivores living on plants. Journal of the Lepidopterist's Society 49 (4): 412-453
  13. ^ Rubinoff, Daniel and William P. Haines. 2005. Web-Spinning Caterpillar Stalks Snails. Science 309(5734): 575. DOI: 10.1126/science.1110397

14. Diaz, James H. (2005). "The Evolving Global Epidemiology, Sydromic Classification, Management, and Prevention of Caterpillar Envenoming". Species Potamogeton acutifolius Potamogeton alpinus Potamogeton angustifolius Potamogeton berchtoldii Potamogeton compressus Potamogeton crispus Potamogeton epihydrus Potamogeton filiformis Potamogeton freisii Potamogeton gramineus Potamogeton lucens Potamogeton natans Potamogeton obtusifolius Potamogeton pectinatus Potamogeton perfoliatus Potamogeton polygonifolius Potamogeton praelongus Potamogeton pusilus Potamogeton trichoides Potamogeton, commonly pondweed, is a genus of aquatic, mostly freshwater, plants...


15. Patel RJ, Shanbhag RM. Ophthalmia nodosa - (a case report). Indian J Ophthalmol 1973;21:208


16. Corrine R Balit, Helen C Ptolemy, Merilyn J Geary, Richard C Russell and Geoffrey K Isbister, (2001)“Outbreak of caterpillar dermatitis caused by airborne hairs of the mistletoe browntail moth (Euproctis edwardsi)”


See also

  • Pests and diseases of roses
  • Edible caterpillars
  • Larval food plants of Lepidoptera

Roses are susceptible to a number of pests, diseases and disorders. ...

External links

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Image File history File links Wikispecies-logo. ... Wikispecies is a wiki-based online project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation that aims to create a comprehensive free content catalogue of all species (including animalia, plantae, fungi, bacteria, archaea, and protista). ...

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