Caterpillar eyespots

For the past 18-or-so months, Tom Hossie, a PhD student working in the same lab as me, has been carrying out research into caterpillar eyespots. This is an absolutely fascinating area of research, not only because it involves looking at pretty animals, but because there are so many unanswered questions to investigate. Here’s an example of the kind of caterpillar that sparked his interest in this topic:

Papilio troilus caterpillar, photo by Ryan Hagerty

The little guy even looks like he has eyelids!  Tom is seeking to answer as many questions as possible during his 3-4 year PhD and has made a roaring start with an extensive field study that will hopefully be published soon (I’ll blog about that once it is in print!). I’d highly recommend checking out his blog ( for more details about the project and eyespots in general!  He has lots of excellent photos from his current trip to Costa Rica.