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Do caterpillars have a sex before they become butterflies? © Getty Images

Do caterpillars have a sex before they become butterflies?

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If you thought your teenage years were awkward, try going through puberty in a cocoon.

Asked by: Adrian Lewis, Exeter

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The sex of a caterpillar is fixed at the moment the egg is fertilised­, but most species don’t show any sex-specific features until they turn into butterflies.

The immature reproductive organs are still present in the larval stage though, and in a few species with translucent bodies, you can see the red or dark yellow testes of the males.

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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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