Most insects’ tough exoskeletons protect their bodies
from predators and from drying out. however, some
insects—including young insects, such as caterpillars—have
soft bodies. they benefit by adding an extra layer of protective
Scale insects, for example, are named for the armor
they produce. A young scale insect finds a spot on a plant
where it can feed. then its body oozes substances that form
a shield over it. the insect lives underneath this shield.
Different kinds of scale insects make different kinds
of shields. Armored scale insects make hard, waxy shields.
Soft scale insects make softer waxy coverings, or shields
that look like balls of cotton. ground pearls, which are related
to scale insects, make round, waxy covers that look
Caterpillars of some moths make a sticky, bumpy covering
for their bodies. Ants that bite these caterpillars end
up with jaws full of goo. the ants’ bodies and legs also
become coated with the slime. the ants must work hard to
scrape off the sticky material, which keeps them too busy
to try to attack again.