Remember The Very Hungry Caterpillar? He may have some serious real-life competition because scientists have discovered that a common caterpillar can eat and digest plastic. They published their findings in the journal Current Biology.
The wax worm is the larval form of the parasitic wax moth (Galleria mellonella), also known as the honeycomb moth. Adult moths chew their way into beehives, then lay their eggs, which will gorge themselves on honeycomb once they hatch. Because bees didn’t already have enough to deal with.
Federica Bertocchini is a research fellow at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria in Spain. In her free time, she’s an amateur beekeeper. One day, she picked handfuls of yellow wax worms out of her hives and tossed them into plastic bags, destined for the trash. But a few hours later, the bags were riddled with holes. The prisoners had made a wiggly break for it.
Bertocchini was intrigued. She and her colleagues rounded up hundreds of wax worms and a bunch of shopping bags and put them…