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Auburn University

Holotype is a collaborative project that translates biodiversity into textile design

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Holotype is a collaborative project that translates biodiversity into textile design

The most common animal prints used in textiles come from large mammals—think leopard print and zebra stripes—but we wanted to change that. Our labs worked with textile designer Meredith West to create a line of fabric prints based on animals that are rarely thought of as beautiful: ants.

At a glance, an ant doesn’t look like much more than a black speck crawling across the pavement. But if you take that same ant and look at it under a microscope, an incredible amount of detail is revealed. We combed through online database imagery to find species that had dynamic facial textures and patterns. We then translated these images into pattern repeats that could be used for textile design.

Your support for this project will help raise awareness about biodiversity while also benefitting research on these incredible insects. The function of ant cuticle patterns is still largely unknown, so all of our proceeds from this project will be used to support further research on the ants that inspired these prints in the first place.

Holotype is run by Clint Penick at Auburn University. The project was developed with Adrian Smith at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and Rob Dunn at North Carolina State University.

For more information about this project, visit:

To see more work by Meredith West, visit:

[Holotype (n): the single type specimen used to describe a new species.]

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