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August 2, 2014

Insects build carapaces of gold and pearls

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Artist Hubert Dupras observed that the aquatic caddis fly begins its life in a larval stage and must build an artificial carapace in order to survive into adulthood.

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He wondered what would happen if the caddis flies were given gold flakes and pearls to build with rather than their customary sticks and rocks.

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Above and

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below, the results.

[via Colossal and io9]

August 2, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Comments

Oh that's something extraordinary!

Posted by: Pippi | Aug 4, 2014 2:27:01 AM

Along with the Mayfly and the Salmon Fly, the Caddis is among the primary prey of Trout and related species. Case-building Caddis comprise a small subset of the Caddis subspecies and live the majority of their lives undergoing complete metamorphosis in aquatic environments. The adult stage, the flying form, exists for but a few days and in that form the Caddis mates, engages in egg production, and ovipositing, and dies (unless a Trout or a fiendish jeweler interrupts the cycle).

Case-building Caddis build their cases with the material available in their aquatic environment - twigs, stones, shreds of leaves and other vegetation - making their cases match the shapes and colors of debris in their environment. I've "tied" flies of case-builders where I collected debris from the stream bottom (and, a couple of empty cases) and made it back to the hotel (I last did this on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state - where it rains more than 300"/yr - rather damp and mosquito-laden environs not conducive to camping). I dried my samples with the room's hair dryer and lashed a couple of turns of heavy wire to the shank of my hook and then coated the weighted hook shank with 5 min epoxy - and rolled that sticky hook shank in my collection of stream debris. Poof! Instant copy of a case-building Caddis that matches the environment where I collected my debris.

Artist Dupras might put his Caddis colony to work building cases from tiny, brilliant-cut, Diamonds. Now, that's a rich hatch, indeed!

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Aug 3, 2014 12:03:41 PM

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