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A Citheronia lobesis Saturniidae caterpillar in the last
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A Citheronia lobesis (Saturniidae) caterpillar in the last growth stage

June 1, 2010
A Citheronia lobesis (Saturniidae) caterpillar in the last growth stage prior to molting into a pupa. At this growth stage, the caterpillar will feed for several more days before descending to the ground to pupate in the soil. She weighs 14 grams and is 10 centimeters in length. This is one of the focal species in a research project being conducted at a tropical microbial observatory. The project "Collaborative Research on Microbial Diversity in Caterpillars," explores the microbial diversity and ecosystem found in the guts of caterpillars who feed on Spondias mombin (Anacardiaceae), the project's focal tree. The target location for the project is Conservacion Guanacaste in northwestern Costa Rica, where a National Science Foundation-supported inventory is being taken of caterpillars. The complete inventory is available on-line at http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu.


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