From a study of the impossibly ugly tomato hornworm: Eurekalert:
Comparing the moth’s genes and genome to those from other insects revealed an intriguing peculiarity: “In many insects we know that genes often jump around from one location to another in their respective genomes”, described Dr Robert Waterhouse from the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and the University of Geneva, “but in moths and butterflies something seems to be reducing their freedom of movement”. Prof. Marian Goldsmith from the University of Rhode Island explained that “This exceptional conservation of gene order may be linked to the special structural properties of moth and butterfly chromosomes.” More.
Free artsie education for nerds: A number of poems have been written about how ugly hornworms are. In regions where tobacco is not grown, they are typically known as “tomato” hornworms. They are the caterpiller of the sphinx moth: instars.
See also: Evolutionary convergence of butterflies
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Here is a vid about butterflies you can more easily admire: