Doctoral Student Chris Johns at the University of Florida made this lovely ten-minute video about endemic (“native”) Hawaiian “micromoths” and their caterpillars (genus Philodoria), as well as about those who study them. Do watch the whole thing.
The caterpillars are “leaf miners”, eating the insides of leaves (this affords them protection from predators), and many of the host plants they inhabit are endangered, which means the Philodoria, each species of which is specific to a single species of plant, are also endangered. The adults can be quite beautiful.
Click on the word “vimeo” to enlarge.
Official Selection, Hawaii International Film Festival 2016
Produced by Chris A. Johns
Original Score by Tristan Whitehill
Design by Narayan Ghiotti
With support from the Florida Museum of Natural History, National Geographic Society, International Biodiversity Foundation, and National Science Foundation.
Here’s a National Geographic video on the genus, which says the adults are about the size of an eyelash, both in length and width. You can see that here, as well as their beauty.
Here are photos of two species:
Here’s an adult to scale: that’s a U.S. quarter, about an inch in diameter:
h/t: Mathew Cobb