Quantcast

«

»

Feb 10 2010

When art meets biology: Caddisfly jewelry

No, this isn’t jewelry in the shape of a Caddisfly – sorry, entomologists. It’s actually quite stranger than that: the Caddisfly larva are the artists!You need to know a little bit about Caddisfly life history to completely understand what’s going on:

Caddisflies have aquatic larvae and are found in a wide variety of habitats such as streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, spring seeps, and temporary waters (vernal pools). The larvae of many species make protective cases of silk decorated with gravel, sand, twigs or other debris.

They usually look something like this:Then artist Hubert Duprat got an idea:

Having been in the past a naturalist he knew that the larvae are remarkably adaptable: if other suitable materials are introduced into their environment, they will often incorporate those as well. So in the early eighties he started to collect the larvae from their normal environments and took them to his studio. There he gently removed their own natural cases and put them in tanks filled with his own materials, from which they began to build their new protective sheaths. When he began the project, he only provided the caddis larvae with gold flakes. Since then, the larvae have enjoyed various semi-precious and precious stones, including turquoise, coral and lapis lazuli, as well as sapphires, pearls, rubies, and diamonds.

Isn’t that neat? I know some people would be a little grossed out owning jewelry that was once an insect’s armor, but I think it’s pretty cool. Sometimes art created by nature is just as beautiful as art created by a human.(Via sex, art, and politics)

25 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Julie

    I totally wan tthe pearl and opal one in the last picture. O_O

  2. 2
    Julie

    I totally wan tthe pearl and opal one in the last picture. O_O

  3. 3
    Vanessa

    Gross.

  4. 4
    Vanessa

    Gross.

  5. 5
    Alicia

    It always makes me super happy to see stories about bugs! Insects are just badass. (Yeah I'm an entomology major.)

  6. 6
    Alicia

    It always makes me super happy to see stories about bugs! Insects are just badass. (Yeah I’m an entomology major.)

  7. 7
    Adam

    I was always fascinated by Caddisflies. Now even more so. <3

  8. 8
    Adam

    I was always fascinated by Caddisflies. Now even more so. <3

  9. 9
    goldrelo

    14k gold 3mm aztec topaz heart necklace p44603

  10. 10
    goldrelo

    14k gold 3mm aztec topaz heart necklace p44603

  11. 11
    biodork

    Sweeet! Thanks for the story and the awesome pictures.

  12. 12
    biodork

    Sweeet! Thanks for the story and the awesome pictures.

  13. 13
    Mike K.

    That is without a doubt the coolest thing I've seen this week.

  14. 14
    Mike K.

    That is without a doubt the coolest thing I’ve seen this week.

  15. 15
    ecorona

    that's an artist for ya – use what's at hand – but I'll bet the flies just think the stuff is trash – I wonder if bower birds had anything to do with the Watts Towers in Los Angeles?

  16. 16
    ecorona

    that’s an artist for ya – use what’s at hand – but I’ll bet the flies just think the stuff is trash – I wonder if bower birds had anything to do with the Watts Towers in Los Angeles?

  17. 17
    Katie

    I’m fascinated! I remember looking for these in streams when I was little, but never knew what they were called…..and now I’m a goldsmith. This is a twofer!But, my friendly neighborhood science blogger, I have a question! Some of these seem to have some patterning. Is he manipulating the materials they have available in order to force a pattern?

  18. 18
    Jen

    Hm, maybe he could do something like let them build in gold for a while, then let them build in the blue stones, then let them build in gold again… But I don’t know enough about caddisfly biology or this artist to say for sure.

  19. 19
    pearls

    jyxpearl is China’s major pearl and semiprecious gemstone jewelry supplier. Wholesale pearl jewelry, semiprecious gemstone jewelry such as agate, lapis, tiger eye, obsidian, fluorite, tourmaline, crystals, coral, and turquoise jewelries. jyxpealr is China jewelry manufacturer of self-designed pearl and gemstone necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants, and other jewelriey.

  20. 20
    Suz

    How long does it takes the caddisfly to make the full shell!? I love hunting for them in our rivers!

  21. 21
    http://www.abellie.com/

    bridesmaid sashes

  22. 22
    http://www.abellie.com/

    bridesmaid sashes- A. B. Ellie hand sews dress sashes for weddings, baptisms, prom and any special occasion, using only the finest materials. We make our customers look simply elegant.

  23. 23
    loverevolver4

    Looks creepy, but beautiful in the same time. This seems to combine Native American jewelry with the expensiveness and elegance from the gold posh jewelry. I love it!

  24. 24
    totem111

    I saw similar Cufflink designs once which were really nice. I think it is a genius idea to interact with nature in this way, as long as the insects are kept in an environment that is good for them, otherwise it is a weird form of slavery lol.

  25. 25
    remove security shield

    I’m afraid of those insects 0_0

Leave a Reply