Sun 28 Mar, 2010 05:45 pm
Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, entomologists Daniel Rubinoff and Patrick Schmitz, of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, describes 12 new species of caterpillar (Hyposmocoma). These Hawaiian moth larvae can live their lives completely submerged underwater or in bone-dry conditions. Rubinoff says he doesn't know of another animal that can pull this off. (Credits: Footage courtesy of Daniel Rubinoff and Patrick Schmitz. )
Hyposmocoma, "can breathe and feed indefinitely both above and below the water’s surface and can mature completely submerged or dry," wrote Daniel Rubinoff and Patrick Schmitz in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "No other insects are able to remain active indefinitely above and below water." We'll talk to Rubinoff about the caterpillars, and what makes them unique in the insect world.
Oh yeah! I heard about these little caterpillars on NPR.