Give me a “J”

I have an interesting and perhaps ambitious goal – to photograph caterpillars posing in the shapes of letters of the alphabet. I do not know, yet, whether I want to try to have a consistent background or if I want to go for bright colors and contrasts. I also do not know how possible it will be to successfully wrangle caterpillars into, say, the letter “M”. It is not something I am going to lose sleep over, but I might try posing caterpillars with a paintbrush while I’m photographing them for other purposes.

Since I am studying Acronicta, I will at least be able to get the letter “J” pretty consistently. It is their characteristic resting pose, like this A. rubricoma. I was trying to photograph it against a white background when I realized it made the setae nearly invisible – but on the red paper, wow did the fuzziness pop!

What do you think? Do you think I should try it? Do you think it would work as a poster, sort of like the ones you see with butterfly wing patterns?

Posted on May 30, 2011, in Acronicta, Acronictinae, Invertebrates, Lepidoptera, Noctuidae. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Sounds pretty challenging. I can’t imagine how you’d get single caterpillars into all the various shapes (could use more than one though). How about looking for patterns on the caterpillars in the shape of letters?

    • Yeah I was thinking I’d have to use multiple caterpillars – and very gently!

      Good idea for looking for letters on their bodies, too. Some definitely have some cool squiggly patterns the more up close you get. Maybe if I take more photos through the scope I can find some good patterns.

  2. I’d be happy just seeing the letters you can find.

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Ryerson Lab

Functional Morphology, Sensory Biology, Behavior, Biomechanics

I spell it nature

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

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