Exploring natural history is one of the best parts of conducting ecological research. It is also incredibly important; observing how species behave, appear, and interact in nature informs hypotheses and gives insight into scientific results. Rearing Lepidoptera (and their parasitoids!) has formed the foundation of my PhD research program. Here are some of important caterpillar 'players' in the serpentine/non-serpentine chaparral system.
* = new host plant genus (specified in bold); ^ = new larval morphology. Both are to the best of my knowledge from literature and database searches; please contact me if you know otherwise!