Reflections from the reverse side of the mirror…
I have another update on my furry little caterpillars, Wilbur & Wilma the Woolly Bears :) I went to check on them and to my surprise, I caught Wilma molting! These little guys can molt several times before they are adult sized. As they molt the brown band gets larger each time. Folklore has it that you can predict the winter by noting the width of the bands, but it’s more indicative of the caterpillars age, though there is some speculation that the bands can tell you more about the previous winter than the upcoming one.
Wilbur’s portrait was taken right after he molted on the 20th ( which is here: https://plus.google.com/photos/104306683219947597418/albums/5716212246001669841/5779280779902273218?hl=en ) . I had a feeling Wilma was next and there and as I peeked –there she was, not even fluffed out yet. I was wondering what the white spots on her were and had the answer. The white spots are what she uses for breathing. They are called spiracles and you don’t really see them this clearly because they are well…woolly most of the time and all lol
Wilma dried in no time too, by the time I was done photographing her she was already starting to dry. So of course I have after pictures of her in her newly fluffy glory. The first four pictures are Wilma but I threw a couple Wilburs in there at the end cause Wilbur needs love too ;) The second is an even closer up picture of her, I wish these were tack sharp but I was hand-holding ( and doing a crappy job of it lol ) I didn’t want to pop a flash on her while she was doing what she needed to do.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope! It’s me with my beloved woolly bears on my face :D Wilbur, Wilma and Me having a grand time :)
Yep, that’s really a caterpillar on my nose and another on my hand ^^ Boy, did it sure feel funny lol And to my amazement I got two of the pictures in focus, the last two aren’t but hey– wrangling woolly bears, trying to coax them onto my face, and taking a picture is no small task :P Especially with both of them roaming around tickling/itching my face lol, but I wanted to include them anyway because it’s just fun, regardless of focus. I was delighted that in one of the two that came out technically better I was able to show off my woolly bear eye shadow too ! I’m silly, I know ;)
I have taken to rearing a couple Woolly Bear caterpillars ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrharctia_isabella ) and Wilbur The Woolly Bear ( or Wilma, they are sort of hard to tell apart hehe ) and I would love to say hello to all of our new friends ! I did endeavor to get a portrait of both but once these little critters start a’ scurryin’ they are off like a shot. If you want to see their cute little caterpillar crawl there are some extremely adorable videos on youtube, I might even get around to making one myself :)
This black stuff is called ferrofluid . Ferrofluid is pretty much nano particles of magnetic material suspended in a carrier fluid and a surfactant to keep it from getting clumpy. When there is no magnet around this fluid is fairly thin and quite messy but once you get the right magnetic alignment, these strange shapes emerge. I don’t happen to have very strong magnets, so I did what I could including getting all over everything ! This stuff has a mind of it’s own if you’re not paying attention to where your magnets are lol
Ferrofluid has many other uses besides making an interesting subject for photography. They are used in speakers, the aerospace field, medicine ( as contrast agents ) and many kinds of optics. Pretty multi purpose stuff huh?
This is Henry the Caterpillar and he’s ready for his close up ! I posted earlier how happy I was that I get a couple pics before he “pupated” ( correct termhmm?) .I have been saying cocooned lol Anyway, here he is in all his fluffy late instar ( that’s what they call the stages I think ) glory. At first I thought he was a Scape Moth caterpillar but I have since changed my mind. I think he’s a Fall Webworm , we’ll see if I’m right in time. He’s nice and tucked away in a leaf fold for the time being though, taking a very long nap :)