diamonds are a caddisfly's best friend
April 9, 2003 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Industrious caddisfly larvae live within odd protective cases that they painstakingly craft from bits of twigs, stones, gravel, sand, and leaf fragments. They drag the case around, much like a snail or a hermit crab carries their shell. Artist Hubert Duprat, being well aware of the caddisfly larvae's reputation for resourcefulness and adaptablity, decided to see what would happen if he replaced the usual case building materials with precious gems, gold, turquoise, pearls, lapis lazuli and coral.
posted by iconomy (21 comments total)
kewl. thanks iconomy!
posted by y2karl at 10:06 AM on April 9, 2003

Caddisfly larvae were one of the inspirations of Richard Dawkin's notion of The Extended Phenotype. (Yeah the book is pretty good too).
posted by wobh at 10:07 AM on April 9, 2003

This is pretty cool - so cool, in fact, that I distinctly remember seeing it before. Yup. And previously posted on my birthday, no less. Still, it is pretty freakin' cool, and there are more links about this particular topic this time.
posted by starvingartist at 10:08 AM on April 9, 2003

beautiful and kind of gross at the same time.
my kind of art.
posted by signal at 10:10 AM on April 9, 2003

posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:11 AM on April 9, 2003

How cool is that. Fascinating idea, fascinating results.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:11 AM on April 9, 2003

Fascinating link iconomy.

Also: Both Duprat and Besson seemed surprisingly well informed for an artist and philosopher/art critic. Is it just me or as soon as people read that they did they think they were in for a festival of navel gazing?
posted by biffa at 10:14 AM on April 9, 2003

posted by clavdivs at 10:25 AM on April 9, 2003

thanks iconomy :)
posted by plep at 10:28 AM on April 9, 2003

Great post. Thanks!
posted by armoured-ant at 10:45 AM on April 9, 2003

Didn't expect this to be so interesting. Great post. Raises fascinating questions about creativity and even copyrightability.
posted by anathema at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2003

Great post. I wonder - do the larvae get to keep their new jewel encrusted cases?
posted by troutfishing at 11:14 AM on April 9, 2003

Weirdly beautiful. Would this come under the heading of cruelty to animals? Can we look forward to a campaign to protect caddisflies?
posted by gordian knot at 11:28 AM on April 9, 2003

Cool, but is it art? Many other scientists have tried experiments to examine the perception of the larve. Now it is art?
posted by xtian at 11:55 AM on April 9, 2003

wow! really amazing images, and the concept itself is beautiful.
posted by hulette at 11:58 AM on April 9, 2003

This reminds me a little of Yukinori Yanagi's World Flag Projects. The idea is to represent flags of nations of the world using coloured sand, in transparent, interconnected containers. The flags are those of both major and minor nations, and a number of indigenous groups.

Then an ant farm is let loose on the sand, gradually mixing the sand from different compartments.

There are variations on this - there's an Asia-Pacific Ant Farm, a Union Jack Ant Farm, an EC ant farm, a '38th Parallel' (North and South Korea), and 'Two Chinas'.It's an interesting idea, and the results are intriguing, but nothing like as beautiful as these caddisflies.

World Flag Ant Farm.

Another article.
posted by plep at 12:28 PM on April 9, 2003

More bio-art (less shiny, more glowy): Alba, the GFP Bunny.

My transgenic artwork "GFP Bunny" comprises the creation of a green fluorescent rabbit, the public dialogue generated by the project, and the social integration of the rabbit. GFP stands for green fluorescent protein.

A new Mefi mascot, perhaps?
posted by taz at 2:01 PM on April 9, 2003

I have a sentimental attachment to the Caddis worm--when I was a kid, my dad and I used them as bait for fishing. I'll have to forward these fabulous links to him.
posted by cowboy_sally at 2:10 PM on April 9, 2003

Thanks for the comments, everyone! I'm conflicted about commenting in threads resulting from posts I've made - I don't want to seem like I'm moderating or controlling the thread or "gloating" about it if it goes well, but I feel like I'm being rude if people direct comments towards me and I don't answer. This doesn't keep me up nights, or anything, but I do have issues with it ;)

plep, thank you so much for reminding me of that flag project. That bowled me over when I first heard about it.
posted by iconomy at 4:34 PM on April 9, 2003

Nice post.
posted by caddis at 7:10 AM on April 10, 2003

Nice work.
posted by anathema at 4:52 PM on April 12, 2003

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