The Atavism

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Spinelessness - Spike

Blogging is going to be slow going around here for a little while, in fact, it may just be limited to photographs of bugs from out back garden. Here's one, the absurdly spiky caterpillar of a magpie moth (taken in the glaring sun, sorry):

I can't tell if this is the endemic species Nyctemera annulata, or its cousin from across the Tasmin sea, N. amica. The latter has established itself in New Zealand, and, since the two species are very closely related and can seemingly interbreed quite happily, it seems we may be witnessing the re-amalgamation of previously  seperate evolutionary lineages. The philosophical implications of such a process, and what it means for the definition of species or the goals of conservation biology (did you know DoC shoots pied stilts that pair-off with the endemic black stilt?) will have to wait until I have enough time to say something sensible about them. For now, the caterpillars are pretty cool:

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Posted by David Winter 4:06 PM


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