We live in a strange, beautiful, and often alien-looking world. Case in point: the crystal-clear Jewel Caterpillar of Central and South America, pictured here in all its translucent glory.
This particular caterpillar (which is known more formally as Acraga Coa, and metamorphoses into this equally stunning orange moth) was spotted by photographer Gerardo Aispuru near Cancun, Mexico. Pictured up top is just one in a series of photographs that Aispuru submitted to Project Noah, where he writes:
Photo take in a mangrove area , found this Stoning translucent caterpillar lay on a Red Mangrove tree leaf this morning early. Just can believe there is some species like this around the world. looks like made of glass whit small red mushroom inside every pic. about 3 cm long.
Looking at A. coa's naturally translucent body, I can't help but be reminded of the work of researchers like Atsushi Miyawaki, whose team is working to develop chemical agents that could turn otherwise opaque biological tissue transparent (like that of the mouse embryo on the right in the picture featured here). Are the secrets to next-generation optical imaging hiding in the genes of organisms like the Jewel Caterpillar?