Day 3: Caterpillar Zoo!
Happy Earth Day! We spent most of our Earth day working with our "caterpillar zoo". We entered data about the caterpillars we collected yesterday into our database. Take a look at Scientist Mark entering the data! We also cared for the caterpillars we collected by cleaning out their "frass" ( or caterpillar poop) from the bags and also added more plants to their bag for them to eat. We looked at some of the caterpillars that we could not identify under a microscope to observe of their physical features. Scientists give them a "morphospecies name" (morpho means shape) related to their shape and physical features, until they can identify their scientific name. It was fun creating morphospecies for some of the caterpillars we found yesterday. Over the next few days, we will follow the stages of these caterpillars, hoping they do not get parasitoids (baby wasps that feed off of the caterpillar) which will kill them and not allow them to turn into moths or butterflies. The scientists want to see if climate change has caused caterpillars to get more parasitoids.
We ventured out to the field to gather data from a new plot. We saw a lot of fallen trees, but gathered only a few caterpillars. Tomorrow we will continue to gather more data, analyze the data we collected today and possibly kayak.
It was nice Skyping with my students and their buddies today. They asked some great questions. It has been fun taking them on this giant science experiment with me! I am excited to see them next week and hope they are working hard while I am away. I hope I can give them some more compliments for their compliment chart when I return :)
1.) Pretend you found the following caterpillars on your field study. It is to difficult to identify them by a scientific name. If you had to create a "morphospecies name" for the following caterpillars, what would you call them? Why? Remember to base your name on the caterpillar's shape and physical features.