A PARASITOID EPIC

(Warning: watching this video may cause uncomfortable squirminess and spine-tingling shivers) To balance out our latest video post of a cute caterpillar dressing up in dainty flower petals, here is a slightly rawer view of nature and the extreme challenges caterpillars face. Let us know if you watched our parasitoid feature through to its end. Do you feel better or worse about these creatures now? Take a minute to think of the world from a parasitoid's point of view and see them not just as the killers of cuddly caterpillars, but as animals struggling to survive like everything else. These pale and wriggling larvae are the children of an incredible diversity of wasps and flies that have foun

Petal Dress Up

Camouflaged Looper, Synchlora aerata, plays dress up and then has a snack at a Caterpillar Lab show. Made this little film from one of the first videos we ever took - a digital microscope capture at one of our outreach programs years ago. It's rough... but charming I hope. Enjoy!

Introducing Slug Caterpillars

A Menagerie of Slug Caterpillars at The Caterpillar Lab. These backyard gems look as if they would be more at home in some exotic tropical reef than a suburban yard, but they are just one of the many treasures you can discover simply by slowing down and turning over leaves. Help us make slug caterpillars FAMOUS and SHARE this video! The world must know! The Caterpillar Lab "Igniting the spark of backyard discovery" ---- Video breakdown: Slug Caterpillar are in the moth family Limacodidae. There are over 1000 species known worldwide. Many have stinging, venomous spines, so handling is not recommended. They eventually spin cocoons, pupate within, and emerge as compact, rather fluffy, but othe

Cecropia giant silk moth caterpillar sheds its skin

A cecropia giant silk moth caterpillar sheds its skin and becomes a living, wiggling, pupa. Comment about a time that you witnessed this unbelievable transformation. Was it what you expected? ----- Time for a trip down memory lane. I will be posting the best videos from our 2016 season over the next few weeks. Did you have a favorite? Did any of our videos surprise you? Delight you? Disgust you? Convince you there was more to learn about caterpillars than you thought? Feel free to ask us questions, comment, or share these. Enjoy! ------

Caterpillar Trading Cards

Well, this is one way to collect a complete set of trading cards... make them ourselves! Very excited looking over our first proof of all 180 cards. Only a few weeks away from offering them here I hope! - Sam TCL Director

Eastern Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma americana

COMMENT CHALLENGE: Many will know the Eastern Tent Caterpillar as a pesky, hungry, scourge of backyard cherry and apple trees. But there is A LOT more to know and discover about these dynamic native caterpillars. Before posting comments about how much trouble they cause, take the time to read up on them and POST AN INTERESTING FACT or STORY instead! I'll add some notes to the comments if you folks don't get to it - but come on... impress us! --- Time for a trip down memory lane. I will be posting the best videos from our 2016 season over the next few weeks. Did you have a favorite? Did any of our videos surprise you? Delight you? Disgust you? Convince you there was more to learn about caterp

Pygmy Leafminer

Pygmy Leafminer, Stigmella quercipulchella, eating its way through a late season oak leaf and then emerging at The Caterpillar Lab. Time for a trip down memory lane. I will be posting the best videos from our 2016 season over the next few weeks. Did you have a favorite? Did any of our videos surprise you? Delight you? Disgust you? Convince you there was more to learn about caterpillars than you thought? Feel free to ask us questions, comment, or share these. Enjoy! "WHAT IF your entire universe was bound between the top and bottom surfaces of a single leaf? This is the reality of New England's smallest caterpillars, the pygmy leafmining moths of the family Nepticulidae. This oak-feeding pygm

A surprise find during a public program

At many of our outreach events we run a cocoon-opening activity, where we carefully explore the structure and function of a cecropia moth cocoon, and reveal the living, wiggling, pupa within. This process does not harm the animal and we store the exposed pupa in a refrigerator and let it eclose as normal each spring. I plan to make a detailed video on how to do a cocoon-opening of your own, for those teachers who would like to take their classroom metamorphosis projects to the next level. At our recent "Seed Celebration" program in Alstead, NH, we opened a few wild-found cecropia cocoons. We always know what to expect when opening a captive-reared cocoon - but those found in the wild, more o

Cecropia Giant Silk Moth caterpillars sheds its skin

Cecropia Giant Silk Moth caterpillars sheds its skin at The Caterpillar Lab. Time for a trip down memory lane. I will be posting the best videos from our 2016 season over the next few weeks. Did you have a favorite? Did any of our videos surprise you? Delight you? Disgust you? Convince you there was more to learn about caterpillars than you thought? Feel free to ask us questions, comment, or share these. Enjoy! I can't wait to bring you new material once the 2017 season gets underway! -Sam TCL Director

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The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one’s local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built.

© 2015 CATERPILLAR LAB INC.  With original artwork by Heather Reid and Samuel Jaffe

 

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