Wednesday, June 20, 2007

punk rock caterpillar



there are
many days,
especially
in this
last year,
that i felt
like
giving up
on research
and
pursuing
something
else...

but then
there are
days
like yesterday...
a cool summer
morning,
after the rain,
all alone
in the trees.
quiet.
those moments
in the trees
thinking
and
collecting
caterpillars
is when
it feels
right.

although
the research
questions
i ask
are
based on
ecology
and
evolution,
it's really
my love
of insects
that
fuels
my work.

so yesterday
as i was
collecting
i saw
one
of
my favorite
caterpillars
just
hanging out
on a leaf
and
i thought
of telling
you all
about it.



the species
is called
the
white-marked
tussock moth,
Orgyia leucostigma.
they are in the
the
tussock moth
family,
Lymantriidae,
same as the
notorious
gypsy moth.
they
get the name
from
the crazy
dense tufts
of hair called
tussocks.
when i
first saw them
i thought
of this:


photo by ann summa

i
dubbed them
punk rock
caterpillars
and
vowed
to work on them.

funny enough,
last year
(due to
some
preliminary
genetic work
i did)
they became
the focus
of my research.



finding
this
little guy
can make
my day.

yesterday
was
a good day,
i found
3 of them!

i also
found
this
cute
katydid
sitting
on a leaf
(i put it
back)



next week,
another caterpillar
and
my caterpillar
t-shirt
designs...

value village
tomorrow,
hooray!

xo

19 comments:

ms. pea said...

i wish it were possible to hug and squeeze a tussock moth caterpillar... alas, no squeezing. can i come to value village with you?

ashb said...

he does look punk rocker like :)
I will always think you are so cool for climbing in trees and collecting bugs!
I can't wait to see the new designs!

xoash

Heather said...

Oh yes! Keep it coming with the bug lore! This is a wonderfully unique post and made me want to hear more. Don't be shy, pretend like we know what you are talking about and we'll jump right in with you. :-)

I love the photos too. But you always have great photos.

Eero said...

Tussocks! It's amazing what we find crucial fuel to feed our studies....

Hey-if you need more Spruce Wood Beetles (or whatever their real name is) we have a bumper crop this year and I'd be happy to put a dent in their population for you.

E.

erin scissorhands said...

i've always wondered what those pretty things were called! i saw one when i was about 12 and i'd never seen anything like it! so neat!

eireann said...

so cool. i love these bugs. the katydid looks like a piece of jade.

shari said...

beautiful out in the field photos gwen. those tussock moth caterpillars are so striking. i saw a tumble of copper colored beetles today. not sure what they were doing. i thought of you and how you would most certainly know the answer. xo

shash said...

what a sweet pillar and katydid. pretty greens. thanks for sharing. can't wait to see the shirts and more caterpillar photos!

comfies said...

those pictures are AMAZING. love this post so much! and since i befriended a very common sort of caterpillar once, i'm including the link in case you want to see.
http://comfies.blogspot.com/2007/03/afraid-caterpillar.html

cruststation said...

How adorable that you named it 'punk rock caterpillar' :) Your research is fascinating, just look at the katydid! Thank you so much for sharing them here.

julie said...

you have the best job...beautiful photos and i cant wait to see your t-shirts!!! have a lovely weekend xxx

amydawnrose said...

hi gwen- can i say it's so nice to hear you talk positively about your research again- i was worried you were thinking of throwing in the towel...

marsha said...

i've felt similarly about research - if i had such wonderfully cute subject matter, i'd hang in there too! love your punk rockers!

Kim Carney said...

I will be thrilled to find him too!

ashb said...

I love to see bug + bug photos :)
this post really made me smile!


xoash

amisha said...

i love the punk rock caterpillar. the day collecting sounds so good... just the right kind of moment for reconnecting with the love of the work. xo

Miss T said...

Very funky bugs and great post!

Kylee said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and correctly IDing my spiny caterpillar!

Now this tussock moth caterpillar - I found one a couple of different times on my miniature roses. It was either the same one or two different ones. I relocated the first one to a nearby bush, but it may have preferred the roses and found them again.

Wild things, aren't they?

gracia said...

I love sharing in all your bug explorations... wonderful, nothing short of.

see you, g