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Entomology

Cover of The Book of Caterpillars
Summer 2018

The Book of Caterpillars

Cover of The Book of Caterpillars

Edited by David G. James

The University of Chicago Press: 2017

 

Meet some of the world’s most wild, weird, and beautiful caterpillars. Using its own hairs, the lichen moth builds a basket around itself to stay protected during metamorphosis.

As the Red Helen caterpillar develops, its body starts to resemble a snake’s head. When threatened a red, forked appendage inflates from behind its own head, giving off an unpleasant … » More …

Monarch butterfly
Summer 2017

Very well off the beaten path

“There he is!” I look up as tattered orange wings flutter above the sunflowers. A lone male monarch butterfly hovers near the milkweed patch, gallantly hoping, says wildlife ecologist Rod Sayler, for the arrival of a female.

The scene took place early last August at the Washington State University Arboretum and Wildlife Center, where for the first time in 25 years, Sayler documented the iconic butterflies living and breeding on campus. Weeks earlier, to his astonishment, he’d found a handful of monarch caterpillars devouring the leaves of recently restored showy milkweed plants.

“The monarchs were a big surprise for me,” he says. “It’s the first … » More …

Winter 2014

The scrambled natural world of global warming, a travelogue

Jesse A. Logan ’77 PhD is hiking up a mountainside in Yellowstone National Park and walking back in time. He starts at 8,600 feet above sea level, in a forest thick with the scent of fir and lodgepole pine, and with almost every spry step, the scenery changes. There’s an understory of grouse whortleberry, then accents of mountain bluebells and higher still, the whitebark pine, one of the oldest organisms of the Interior West.

Finally, the vegetation gives way to large swatches of scree. Logan’s 70-year-old legs have gone up 2,000 feet and back more than 10,000 years, from the lush vegetation of the twenty-first … » More …