At first, you might think the weirdest thing about this little caterpillar is its body—long and skinny, with a patch of legs at the front and a patch at the back, it does a lot of rearing up and strategically falling onto things. That last bit becomes important later.
See, this little Hawaiian caterpillar is a killer.
The Carnivorous Caterpillar is a product of island evolution, which is, itself, a pretty weird phenomenon. For instance, a study published in PLoS Biology in October of 2006 found that mammal populations on islands can change their physical appearance and structure at a rate as much as 3.1 times greater than that of mainland mammals.
Islands breed both unusual caterpillars and fast-evolving mammals thanks to a combination of isolated populations—through which mutations can more easily spread—fierce competition for limited resources, and the odd interactions that happen between species of plants and animals that are all experiencing the same sort of pressures. After all, the ecological niche—what you eat, where you live, who eats you—a species inhabited on the mainland might not exist the same way on an island. And it's likely to change relatively rapidly, along with resources and the spread of useful mutations. Over hundreds or thousands of years, an island species can come to look and act very differently from its mainland cousins.
This video is part of Life Is—A new website that brings together tons of clips from BBC nature documentaries and arranges them in a procrastination-friendly browsing menu. You can search for videos by climate, geography, even predominant color scheme—so a passing fancy for a carnivorous caterpillar could lead you to pig-nosed turtles, Chinese rice fields and whistling rats.
Artists Jeff Louviere and Vanessa Brown explore cymatics, the study of wave phenomena and how they are represented visually. Using black-colored water, a laptop computer, and a modified guitar amp, they captured “portraits” of the 12 notes in the chromatic scale. From my sister-in-law Heather Sparks’s profile of their project in Nautilus: In each (“portrait”), […]
Yesterday’s science-by-press-release announcement that a research team had made a “breakthrough” in treating ALS thanks to funds raised in last year’s viral ice-bucket challenge turns out to be vaporware: the gene identified was already known to be implicated in ALS, but only affects 3% of cases, and the new refinement in the research suggests some […]
New research on trends in adult human height over the last century confirm that, no surprise, humans are getting taller overall due to better nutrition and disease control. However according to the health science group Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC), the gain in adult height varies dramatically by country. From their paper, published in […]
Those of us who love music wish we could listen to it 24/7. But it’s impossible when we’re trying to converse with our friends, or when are swimming in the local pool.That is, until now. The KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset, now 48% off, has changed the audio game.Made with lightweight titanium memory metal, this headset boasts patented bone conduction technology to transport sound […]
It’s one thing to enjoy dinner at home and a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with your best friend, Netflix, but it’s another thing entirely to make that meal from scratch and get that wine delivered right to your doorstep.But what if we told you there’s a way to make this possible? To keep your social life, […]
Having to pack and drag your stuff through security can put quite the damper on your vacation plans. Thankfully, we’ve got your back with one way to make traveling more painless: the Jumper Overnighter Travel Bag.This compact bag is so lightweight that you can effortlessly carry it, and fit it into any overhead compartment. But just […]