Category Archives: Biomaterials

Living With Heat

Saharan silver ants, Cataglyphis bombycina, forage under conditions of extreme heat as an adaptation to avoid predators such as ant-eating lizards. Scout ants monitor the lizard activity. When the lizards take shelter from the heat, the scouts alert the ant … Continue reading

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Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Pine Processionary Caterpillars

Caterpillars of the Pine Processionary Moth, Thaumetopoea pityocampa, have ruined many a vacation in the French countryside. These caterpillars produce urticating hairs that can elicit an allergic reaction in people and animals who contact them. The setae on the posterior … Continue reading

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Living With Gazalina

Adult female moths in the genus Gazalina produce urticating hairs that can have profound human health effects. These tussock moths in the family Notodontidae are found in South Asia including India, Nepal and China. Populations increase during the monsoon season … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Health | 1 Comment

Living With Processionary Caterpillars

Caterpillars of the Australian bag shelter moth, Ochrogaster lunifer, feed at night and spend the day in shelters of silk, debris and fecal matter.  The caterpillars feed on leaves from Acacia, Eucalyptus and Corymbia. If the caterpillars defoliate their host, … Continue reading

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Living With Genetically Altered Pests

The ability to manipulate insect genes has led to new methods of insect control. Some genetic manipulations lead to insects that are sterile or fail to develop. The company Oxitec produces genetically altered insects that could potentially control pests. Initial … Continue reading

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Living With Madagascar Silk

Caterpillars of the silk moth, Bombyx mori, are the most common species used for silk production.  Thousands of years of selection have created an insect that can efficiently produce silk. However, all caterpillars produce silk and some other species are used for … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Caterpillar Blogging, Environment | 1 Comment

Recycling With Insects

I recently posted about the ability of some beetles to grow and develop on polystyrene. A report from Pune, India adds wax moths to the list of plastic consuming insects. Humans produce much plastic waste that contains useful nutrients and energy … Continue reading

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