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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The Prominents, family Notodontidae

January 20, 2017

With their inflatable tails, horns and fins, acid sprays, bulbous rear-ends, and unmatched mimicry, the Notodontid caterpillars are some of the most bizarre creatures we work with, and though their adult counterparts may lack the shear number of odd bells and whistles that their larvae display, they are non-the-less a very charming group of insects. From Clostera moths with tufted butt-chimneys, to snapped-branch twig mimics like the Oakworm moths, to fluff balls like the Gluphisia, under close inspection these hold all the beauty, wonder, and down-right adorability as any of the larger, more often recognized groups. I hope you enjoy getting to know these remarkable creatures!

 

By popular demand, we will be adding adult moth image panels to our traveling "The Caterpillar Lab" exhibits in 2017. I resisted doing this for a long time for a few reasons. I wanted to specifically highlight the caterpillars as important and interesting organisms, independent of their adult counterparts, and I felt that showing the adults could take away from this message. I also wanted to show adult moths and butterflies as more than just a pair of pretty wings. Much of the photography available was of flat dorsal shots of the spread wings, with little or nothing hinting at the creature below. So I started taking stage photographs of my own backyard moths last season and we now have enough to go on to start something new in 2017! I'm looking forward to seeing how these simple images will affect the dynamics of a TCL program.

 

I really should cut this music thing out - but once you start exploring the free youtube libraries, weird stuff happens...

- Sam
TCL Director

 

 

 

 

 

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