Friday, November 15, 2013

Dummy caterpillar experiment results!

I checked on our dummy caterpillars over the weekend and saw no action so I decided it would be best to leave them for a week to give ample time for some predation. I probably should have checked the weather before making that decision...several inches of snow later.....I collected what was left of the caterpillars this afternoon. Two sets (six caterpillars total) were on plants that died and though I tried, I could not find the caterpillars! Of the two other sets I did find, there were two caterpillars that had interesting marks. First I referenced what some common predation marks might look like:
Howe et al., 2009

Curtis et al., 2013

Then I looked at our caterpillars under the scope:
Mark found on the dorsal aspect (top) of the caterpillar.

Mark found on the lateral aspect (side) of the caterpillar.

What do you guys think? Both of these caterpillars had been secured to branches of a pine tree. I'm guessing this experiment would be a lot more interesting if it was done in the spring!


  1. Nice job! Maybe a marking from a piercing/sucking insect?

  2. If you want to do more of this, we have a citizen science project with people deploying dummy caterpillars all over the world! And we supply the catepillars :)