University homepage Suomeksi På svenska In English

Global Dummy Caterpillar Project

Site map :



Contact information

Spatial Foodweb Ecology Group
Department of Agricultural Sciences
PO Box 27 (Latokartanonkaari 5)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki






Help us measure caterpillar predation around the world

Agreed Dummy Caterpillar sites as of January 13th, 2016. Green sites have already performed the experiment.

The results of the study have been published in Science. Here is a link to the study and here to a Livescience summary on it.


The Global Dummy Caterpillar Project is closed to new entries for the time being. Thank you to everyone who participated!



Does predation of insect herbivores decrease with latitude?

What are the main predators of insect herbivores?

Do the predators of insect herbivores change with latitude?

These are the main questions we want to answer with the Global Dummy Caterpillar Project. Artificial plasticine caterpillars have been found to be effective for measuring predation in both tropical and temperate ecosystems. Different types of predators leave different bite marks in the plasticine, which we can use for identification. We are now planning to send these dummies all around the world to volunteers who will put them out in the wild and see what bites.

Dummy caterpillars attacked by ants, birds, rodents and slugs.
UK Varrio
Greenland Borneo
In the pilot phase in 2013, we trialled the caterpillars in four locations: the UK, Finland, Northeast Greenland and Borneo. Photos: Alison & Vic Slade, Tapani Hopkins, Tomas Roslin, Claudia Gray. Tapani blogged about putting out the caterpillars.