The video discusses a caterpillar called Megalopyge Opercularis, also known as the ASP caterpillar or woolly slug. Despite its cute appearance, this caterpillar has long hairs that can cause severe pain when touched, earning it the nickname "toxic toupees." However, researchers believe that the venom of this caterpillar could be used for life-saving medicine by engineering it to deliver drugs directly into cells, such as cancer cells.
The study of this caterpillar's venom also aimed to learn more about evolution and a rare phenomenon called horizontal gene transfer. The toxins in the caterpillar's venom originated from bacterial genes more than 400 million years ago, highlighting an unusual way in which evolution can occur. Understanding these processes could lead to future applications and discoveries.
The larval stage of a butterfly or moth.
A poisonous substance that is produced by certain animals and can cause harm when injected or absorbed.
The application of scientific and mathematical principles to design and create structures, machines, systems, etc..
A number of short pieces of hair.
Small, loose pieces of wool or other soft material.