Do you want to be a citizen scientist, and help researchers learn about the world we live in? Be part of The Caterpillar Conundrum project, and help scientists learn about caterpillars and their parasitoids.

The Caterpillar Conundrum is part of a PhD project being conducted by Erinn Fagan-Jeffries who you will all remember as our previous Science Communications Manager.  Now Erinn is studying parasitoid wasps in Australia and needs your help to learn what their hosts are!

So how can you help?  Well, why not try a project at home?   Erinn is asking volunteers to rear caterpillars that you might find in your backyard and upload the data to a BowerBird Project.  A small number of these caterpillars that you find will have parasitoids inside them, which will form cocoons on teh body of the caterpillar and emerge as wasps of flies.  If this happens, Erinn will ask you, the volunteer, to send in your parasitoids and dead caterpillar so those that are working on the project can sequence the DNA.  The DNA will help us to learn about the relationship between parasitoids and their hosts.

This is real science, and we really do need your help! Rearing caterpillars takes time, and only a small number get infected by parasitoids. To collect enough information, we need to rear hundreds of caterpillars… a big job for one PhD student! The more information we collect, the better we can understand how the caterpillars and parasitoids interact.

For more information (and there’s quite a lot of it) for students, teachers, parents, families, all those interested head to  

 

 You’ll be able to read the blog to see how the results and findings are going too!
A great holiday activity which you can start right now!