Unlocking clotting mechanisms in caterpillar hemolymph for medical use

Blood in insects, called hemolymph, can clot quickly outside the body, but how this happens has remained a mystery. Researchers have discovered that caterpillars of the Carolina sphinx moth, tobacco hornworms, can seal wounds in a minute by transforming their hemolymph from a water-like substance to a viscoelastic fluid. This change allows the hemolymph to retract back to the wound and form a crust that stops bleeding. The study of these caterpillars has potential applications for human medicine in designing fast-working thickeners for blood. Further research is needed to understand why some insects have more hemocytes than others.

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