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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Caterpillars & The Art of Survival

At first glance, the life of a caterpillar seems simple: eat, grow, avoid predation, and transform.  But in order to live this simple life, caterpillars have evolved a huge variety of adaptations and employed countless strategies.  One example is camouflage.  Few insects exhibit such an extraordinary ability to blend in as caterpillars.  The caterpillar below was found on a White Ash tree near the NBNC community garden.  Can you spot it?


Despite being several inches long and feeding out in the open, even during mid-day, this caterpillar seems un-phased by the many birds that fly within feet of it, looking for a meal.  It is called a Laurel Sphinx Moth.  As it feeds, it positions its body so that the black-and-yellow lines on its abdomen are parallel to the veins of the leaf on which it feeds.  A picture of the adult moth is shown below.

To learn more about caterpillars, please join us TOMORROW for the Naturalist Journeys!  Program info below:

(c) Photo by J.D. Roberts, via bugguide.net

Caterpillars: The Art of Survival
Friday, March 1, 7:00 p.m.
(at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier)
Caterpillars in art, science, and education.  Naturalist-photographer Samuel Jaffe will present his photographs and discuss his work with native caterpillars.  Highlights will include details on caterpillar behavior as well as on caterpillar finding, rearing, and photographing techniques.  In addition, Sam will discuss how he has incorporated caterpillars into educational programming and curriculum in the hopes of fostering a new generation of aware and passionate naturalists.

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