Swamped

Surprise surprise, right?

The caterpillar lab has been humming along. My advisor was away for a month to explore the southwest and collect a few hundred caterpillars for his next field guide… meanwhile a few lab members and I kept things running around here. Collaborators began sending me more and more material (I currently have about two hundred caterpillars in my care). I even started some real data-gathering experiments!

My advisor returned this past weekend and the lab has been in a frenzy. Jars of caterpillars and bags of plants everywhere. Boiling specimens and trying to not forget about them lest they fry on the hot plate. Urgent requests to run outside and grab a branch of the oak tree out behind the building (or the milkweed down the street, or the birch by the pond, or the alder at the stop sign…).

Here is the lab table right now, actually looking remarkably clean and organized. There are several boxes of caterpillar vials on nearby shelves:

20130820_144408

And my caterpillar station:

20130820_144420

It is amazing how easy it is to get caught up in the daily grind of feeding caterpillars, cleaning out poop, setting up freshly hatched first instar caterpillars, taking photos, collecting plants, etc. Sometimes I nearly forget exactly what I am supposed to be doing with these guys – experiments! Once I get some pictures organized I’ll let you know what I’m up to… it’s about defensive behaviors. So far so good, and hopefully I’ll have enough data to present something interesting at the Entomological Society of America conference in November. Fingers crossed.

Posted on August 20, 2013, in Update, Wag Lab and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I admire your enthusiasm :) Taking care of two hundred caterpillars must be a very time-consuming task. But I bet it is cute to watch those little creatures munch through their daily meal :) Good luck with gathering data! It can be a pain, I tell you, but you can make it! Theres still some little time until November. Fingers crossed

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Ryerson Lab

Functional Morphology and Biomechanics

Connecticut Entomological Society

Promoting insect research, conservation, and outreach

Saurian Obsessions

Life, love, and limb-reduced fossorial skinks

I spell it nature

Trying to make sense of the world through science and language.

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