Today I looked into UCSB gardens and noticed that most of what I found involved the Greenhouse, which likely will not have many "pests" like caterpillars since it is in a closed environment. I realized that the easiest and most reliable way to obtain my collaborators would be to order a butterfly kit. So, I placed an order for painted lady butterflies and should be getting them by next Tuesday, the 20th. In the meantime, I need to think of what I want to do specifically.
I had the idea of controlling where they can eat on broad leaves (which I will also get when the time is right). I might not try to control where they can eat. It might be more interesting to see what they do on their own, and then add my own personal touch after they are done. I was thinking of arranging them around a wooden post, with the leaves attached to barbed wire or some other prop. I could also paint them or use them as stencils to paint. It might be funny if I painted caterpillars with the leaves as stencils. Or, I could make a statement by putting binder paper hole protective stickers around spherical holes that the caterpillars chew, if they end up making some. I guess it'll just have to be a surprise. I ordered five caterpillars, so maybe I could have five experiments running at once.
One really good thing about painted lady butterflies is that they are native and I can release them when they are done. I just really hope I will be able to keep them alive that long in this heat. Also, they are small and versatile, which is a plus.
Unfortunately there isn't much I can post at this point beyond photos of leaves from candidate tree species, and perhaps a link or pic to the butterflies I ordered. I can also look into the species now that I know which one in particular I am using. I can do that at the next class meeting if time allows for presentations.
(How do I upload pics?) [Write Comment]
05/18/14 12:57:57 - A Search for Local Caterpillars
I learned from Mona that there were caterpillars on the cork oak tree outside of the library. I cancelled my order for painted lady caterpillars and checked it out. I found the tree and saw several very tiny caterpillars. However, they were not very active, not even after I had kept them for some time. They were very still and did not appear to be eating the leaves (I provided the same kind I found them on). I decided to find another kind of local caterpillar: monarchs. [Write Comment]