Saturday, August 8, 2009

Instars










































I took the top picture last year, calling it Rue Beastie because I had no idea what it was. I saw the same thing 3 days ago on a dill plant, since then it's grown into what I'm sure is a Parsely Worm, which will morph into an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail if all goes in its favor. This is not every day animation, the forms of larval arthropods are tricky. They don't seem to wear the same clothes in every episode. The little beastie is spikey, but the spikes will give way to rolling hills of baby fat unlike no other.

"Instar" seems like such a corporate word for a phase in the development of a caterpillar. Who is responsible for that choice? Well, at least it resonates with avatar, and ties into the whole transformer mythos that young ones get loopy about, for good reason, I'm sure it's in the genes, and parents like it too, because we need constant reminders that "it's just a phase," the little horns will retract and the thorns of irrationality will get swallowed up in the fat of wisdom. So, you know, enjoy the freak show while it lasts.

From Wikipedia:
An instar is a developmental stage of arthropods, such as insects, between each moult (ecdysis), until sexual maturity is reached. Arthropods must shed the exoskeleton in order to grow or assume a new form. Differences between instars can often be seen in altered body proportions or changes in the number of body segments. Some arthropods can continue to molt after sexual maturity, but these subsequent molts are generally not called instars.

Ladybug instars I observed on 11th Avnue, here.