Collaboration Ideas
By Rachel Fleming (04/27/14 20:59:43)
Related animal: Caterpillar

I’ve decided to pick three ideas that stand out to me from my last entry. Those three are:

1. Using caterpillars to make intricate designs on leaves
2. Pouring liquid into tunnels made by worms and letting it set into gel or plaster
3. Making tunnel designs or sand designs with beach hoppers.

Here’s a more in-depth description of each.

For the first, I could find or buy several small caterpillars and give them some interesting looking leaves. On the leaves I could make a maze for them to eat through. This could spell out letters or just make interesting patterns, like spirals, circles, hearts, etc. I would only need to figure out how to safely keep the caterpillars and how to control their position and munching on the leaf. I could probably easily find both caterpillars and leaves. I need a material to put on the leaves that the caterpillars cannot eat through.

For the second, I will need an ant farm and worms, both easily attainable. I could also create barriers to possibly control the tunnel patterns made by the worms. In the end, I can put water on the top to make the worms come out so that I can release them and pour a molding material into the tunnels. The molds can then be exhibited.

For the third, I can use a similar concept as I just mentioned with the worms and see what kind of patterns beach hoppers make. Or, I could set up a sand environment with shallow and deep regions for the bugs to bury in. If the area they are digging in is too shallow for them, they will make a mark and move to another area most likely (although I have observed beach hoppers run out of energy if they cannot bury quickly, which could be dangerous). The resulting landscape could be interesting.

I should think more critically about all three of these possibilities. Worms and beach hoppers would be incredibly easy to get. However, leaves for the caterpillars would also be easy. They all seem possible. Worm burrows actually probably wouldn’t be that exciting since I have seen photos online of fairly simple burrows. With burrowing out of the question, I think the caterpillar idea might be best.

What will my first steps be then? I can ask some friends if they think it would be possible for me to find caterpillars around. If I not, I could get some online or from a store perhaps. I hope I can find some native ones though since I’d like to be able to release them later. Also, I can research materials that I can use to control where they can eat the leaves. It needs to be something flexible that they cannot eat through and that won’t make them sick if they do. Then I need to think of what kind of patterns would be possible. I also need to be able to set aside time to monitor the caterpillars as they eat.

[Write Comment]

Comment by monaluo (05/10/14 20:01:08):
If you're looking for caterpillars, the cork oak tree next to the library is swarming with them. There's caterpillars on just about every other leaf. I don't know what species they are, but they're pretty small right now.