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August 2, 2014

Insects build carapaces of gold and pearls


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.


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.


Above and


below, the results.

[via Colossal and io9]

August 2, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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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