WOOLLIES AND CLIMATE CHANGE As you may have noticed, The Caterpillar Lab has been hard at work this winter! We haven’t shared out about this yet, but one of our major projects has involved reading about the potential effects of climate change on caterpillars. Here, we present our first-ever snippet of caterpillar-specific climate change education! ________________________________________ NOTE 1: This post has to do with another recent post, WOOLLIES IN WINTER. If you haven’t
WOOLLIES IN WINTER Congratulations to those of you who correctly identified this week’s Caterpillar of the Week, the Woolly Bear (Pyrrharctia isabella)! A couple of our fans even mentioned seeing Woolly Bears crossing the road in fall—a common occurrence in many parts of the continental US, especially in the East.
__________________________ Where do those Woollies go in fall? And what do they do when they get there? Woolly Bears spend the entire winter as caterpillars. In fa
CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK: Guess who??? Who can identify this winsome caterpillar by its setae? Wondering what the heck setae (pronounced see-tee) are? Setae is a scientific word for bristly hairs, usually used in reference to invertebrates. Although I think we humans should start calling our eyelashes and whiskers setae. It's a fun word! Check out the setae in this picture and see if you can name the caterpillar. We bet most of you can. While you're at it, tell us a story abou
CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK: The ubiquitous Pug! Eupithecia species Pug caterpillars in New England are represented by a myriad of small, slightly chubby inchworms. Many pugs are flower feeders and can be found chowing down on delicate petals in nearly any roadside patch of goldenrod and daisy. They also show up in bouquets inside our homes, read on... "An expanse of white countertop" Scattered across the surface are tiny black grains like spilled pepper. Looming above is a vase
Our Caterpillar of the Week, Ashen Pinion (Lithophane antennata) has attracted lots of attention for its diet, which includes other caterpillars. We’ve really appreciated our fans’ openness to learning about a caterpillar that can attack and eat other caterpillars. We’ve also loved your engagement this week—your reactions have been so diverse, and your comments thought provoking. One response we keep seeing is something to the effect of, “WHOA! Caterpillars eat THAT?!” When m
CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK: The Ashen Pinion, Lithophane antennata, is one of many species of unassuming, green, cylindrical caterpillars we find in abundance each spring. But don't be fooled by its mundane dress, this caterpillar is a BEAST in disguise! The Ashen Pinion will chow down on a fresh spring oak leaf, but given the choice between greens and a juicy inchworm caterpillar, the pinion has a clear taste for flesh. Many have read about the exotic predatory caterpillars of
ProLOGUE (Ha, Ha) / Disclaimer Last month, when I wrote a post all about the osmeterium, I asked for suggestions regarding other anatomy you’d like to learn about. One request was for information about “hydraulics of prolegs.” I’ve been reading up on prolegs for weeks now, and I’m psyched to share what I learned with you. But before we get started, I need to acknowledge three things: (1) The information in this post comes from a fantastic article called “Locomotion in Caterpi
CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK: I have an ulterior motive for appointing the Luna Moth caterpillar (Actias luna) this week’s Caterpillar of the Week, which will be revealed in an upcoming spotlight on caterpillar anatomy. Spoiler alert: that post will involve prolegs—and you should definitely get excited! Anyway, we hardly need a reason to feature Lunas. Regarded by many as the most gorgeous insect in all of North America, they bring publicity to our lab, not the other way around!