Oral secretions in the cocoons of many moths prevent formation of ice crystals because they form a fine, dry, web-like lining.
"An oral secretion lining (a spider-like thread) is essential in the cocoons of many moths overwintering in cold conditions: it prevents moisture from intruding and prevents the formations of ice crystals, which would be lethal for the pupa…The cocoon may look rough and chunk-like but the interior surface is smoothly covered by web. This is most important for the cold-hardiness of the pupa. It overwinters in a supercooled state, and if a single ice crystal penetrates the skin, the animal freezes momentarily and dies. The fine and dry web prevents the formation of dangerous ice crystals." (Pallasmaa 1995:37, 95)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Pallasmaa, J. 1995. Animal architecture. Helsinki: Museum of Finnish Architecture. 126 p.
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