Notodontidae (Prominents)

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Notodontidae is a moth family with more or less 3900 described species. They can be found from temperate climates to the tropics. Adults do not feed. Notodontidae are known for their larvae that can have highly unusual shapes, colours and defense mechanisms; they include the feared processionary caterpillars (Thaumetapoea) with urticating hairs that are major defoliators and a cause for health concerns across Europe, and species like the puss moth (Cerura vinula) that is famous for its beautiful shape and ability to spray formic acid. Notodontidae seem to have great chemical defenses and in some case they are armed with acidic defensive chemicals that consist of methanoic acid (formic acid) and several kinds of acetate that are able to blind predators and produce a noxious smell that makes them unpalatable. Larvae in some cases have highly modified bodies and legs, such as the legs of the lobster moth (Stauropus fagi) or modified pair of prolegs (such as in Cerura sp.) and in some cases appendages that can give them an alien like appearance and makes them highly fascinating.

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