photos by samuel jaffe showcasing the diversity of massachusetts’ caterpillars. notes samuel, “my goal is to share all the secrets i have gathered about our local environments and about the value of our backyard ecosystems. i hope to show people that we do not need to look to far away places to find the beauty of nature. nature is all around us, under our feet, and in our daily lives.” 

(click pic for species. note the defensive false eyes in the first, third and fifth photos. related posts: the emerald moth caterpillar and the pink underwing moth caterpillar)


This Remarkable Bird Pretends to Be a Bug

A study recently published in the journal American Naturalist details how the cinereous mourner (Laniocera hypopyrra) is covered with bright orange and speckled down-feathers when it is first born. Not only does this soft plumage make the newborn birds looks like one of two large and hairy toxic caterpillars (Megalopyge or Podalia), but the birds will even wriggle like massive bugs for the first 18 days of their life.

The drab grey bird you sea study recently published in the journal American Naturalist, which details how the cinereous mourner (Laniocera hypopyrra) is covered with bright orange and speckled down-feathers when it is first born.e above is capable to tricking predators into thinking that it is a massive a vibrantly colored toxic caterpillar with little effort. (Photo : Wiki CC0 - Hector Bottai)

 A cinereous mourner nestling compared to a toxic caterpillar. (Photo : above, Santiago David Rivera; below, Wendy Valencia)


If any of you are ophidiophobic the Department of Awesome Camouflage would like to offer reassurance that, no matter what your eyes or adrenal cortex are trying to tell you, the animals in these photo are NOT snakes. They’re a wily species of caterpillar that wards off predators by expanding and turning the end of its body, which bears the unmistakable markings of a snake’s head on the underside. If approached, they’ll even go so far as to strike like a real snake. These strikes are completely harmless, but they look so convincing that we’re pretty sure we’d flinch all the same.

This fascinating photo was taken by Daniel Janzen, a biology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, in the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste in northwestern Costa Rica. He’s working there cataloguing caterpillars and says this specimen is a member of the genus Hemeroplanes

[via and Geekologie]

out of spoons & out of money

i’m tori, an out-of-work depressive genderqueer college student in arizona, and, like most people who inevitably end up doing so, i never expected to have to write one of these. i certainly didn’t expect the situation would get so dire so quickly, but life happens. life happens hard.

i have literally no money. (see screenshot of my bank account above.) no money for gas, which means i can’t get a job right now, much less keep it (which would be difficult even under normal circumstances tbh). no money for rent, which is due by the end of the week (and i still owe some from last month). no money for food or other necessities, which i’m going to run out of soonish. (i’m already out of a lot of the things that keep me in a decent mental space.)

basically, i need $375 by thursday to continuing surviving and have no way of getting it at the present moment.

here’s how you can help:

i do tarot readings & custom sigils through my etsy.

also now on etsy: i have lots of experience editing and can proofread/line-edit your essay (article, novel, etc.).

i want to open commissions for art & short fiction but i realllly don’t have the spoons for any extended creative endeavor right now. if you want 50-150 words of fluff, a quick doodle, or a snippet of poetry (i specialize in dirty limericks) i can probably pull it off. message me & we’ll work something out.

(of course, you could also flat-out send me money if you were feeling generous.) my paypal is don’t do that paypal’s being a jerk.

i’ve just set up a GoFundMe page, so that’s another option

even if you can’t help yourself, please spread the word. i honestly don’t know what i’ll do next week if i can’t pull the money together.