The Stunning Diversity and Detail of Vibrantly Colored New England Caterpillars

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“Gravity” Hyalophora cecropia on buttonbush

Samuel Jaffe is getting close and personal with subject matter found right in our backyards— the furry, florescent, grubby little creatures we often find inching along our trees and sidewalks. Jaffe is fascinated by local environments, and aims to share the information he has collected about these backyard ecosystems so we can become more in tune with what’s right below our feet or hiding in the grass.

Jaffe has cataloged dozens of caterpillars in different settings, each with a blackened background to highlight their unique textures, colors, and patterns. Caterpillars dangle off branches, clutch onto leaves, and even play on grapevines within his photographs. Catching his subjects at specific moments, Jaffe gives each a little pop of personality, showcasing their playfulness when left alone in nature.

Jaffe grew up in Eastern Massachusetts, inserting himself within his surroundings, wading through ponds, and exploring the wildlife around him. Over the last five years he began to raise and photograph many of the more interesting native caterpillars. The project has grown to include exhibits, shows, talks, and finally in 2013 the Caterpillar Lab, a passionate program showcasing the diversity of northeastern caterpillars through educational programs, the arts, and sciences. Jaffe’s work is currently on display at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio in the exhibit “Life on the Leaf Edge.” Prints are available in his online shop. (via The Life Neurotic with Steve’s Issues)

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“Red Boots” Apatelodes torrifacta on cherry / “Three Swallowtails” Papilio glaucus, polyxenes, and troilus

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“Turbulent Abstract” – Phosphila turbulenta on smilax

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“Anatomy of a Caterpillar” – Nadata gibbosa on oak

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“Orange Red Green” Eumorpha achemon on grapevine / “Wild Lettuce” Autographa precationis on wild lettuce

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“Life on the Leaf Edge” – Nerice bidentata on elm leaf

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“Life on the Leaf Edge” Cerura scitiscripta on willow leaf

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“The Fawn” Sphinx kalmiae on ash

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“Early Kingdom” Lytrosis unitaria

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“Emerald Deception” Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria on goldenrod / “Cut Flowers” Eupithecia Pug on blue vervain

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“Father of Monsters” Eumorpha typhon on arizona grape

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