Posts Tagged ‘caterpillar’

A Monarch Butterfly

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This is only the only monarch butterfly I’ve seen this week.

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It stopped to feed on the tiny white flowers of this honey vine Cynanchum lavae, before flying on to the north.

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What a beautiful way to start the day!

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And then …. I was weeding in the garden, around the honey vine.

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And there was a monarch caterpillar feeding on one of its leaves.

That was a first for me … calls for more research.

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Monarch Caterpillars

Here it’s the 20th of July and I’ve only seen one monarch butterfly!

My gardens haven’t had much attention this summer. Very few butterflies have flown through the yard or visited any of the few flowers.

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Monarch butterflies (and many other butterflies species) usually visit butterflyweed.

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This summer, there’s only been the one in this picture.

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Only these flowers persist on the cluster of plants.

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 And then I found a monarch caterpillar in the leaves of the butterflyweed.

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Bright colors in nature are warning colors.

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 You eat me and I’ll make you sick.”

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The monarch butterflies are toxic too.

Uncooperative Caterpillar

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This caterpillar wouldn’t stop and rest so I could take its picture.

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It knew where it was going and was determined to go there.

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With it under a hackberry tree, I knew it was a caterpillar for either a hackberry or tawny emperor butterfly.

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After a considerable time of research, I’m almost certain it was a tawny emperor caterpillar.

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A tawny emperor butterfly

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 nectaring on a white coneflower.

In The Wingstem Patch

Today felt cooler than recent days. I just couldn’t stay inside.

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 Seems like I spend a lot of time watching insect activity in the wingstem patch. There’s a pine tree on the left of the patch, a sweetgum in the back and a hackberry on the right.

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Gold moth (Basilodes pepita) caterpillars are relatively common.

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This is a younger version of the one above.

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Wingstem flowers grow in clusters.

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A daddy longlegs waits for prey to come close.

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A leafminer leaves a trail to as they grow inside the leaf.

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An immature ladybug doesn’t exactly look like a ladybug.

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Neither does this next stage of an immature ladybug.

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This immature wheelbug has a considerable amount of growing to go

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before it’s full grown. This one caught a bee for its meal.

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The silvery checkerspot butterfly lay their eggs on wingstem.

Well Dressed

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This little caterpillar goes by the name camouflaged looper.

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Camouflaged loopers are an inchworm, and they attach pieces of the plant they’re on to camouflage themselves.

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They change their attire nightly.

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I think this one could definitely be classified as flamboyant. They are the caterpillar of the wavy emerald looper moth (Synchlora aerata). They prefer composite flowers and change their “attire” nightly because the petals wilt. I don’t have a picture of the moth in my files. The moth is lime green with two thin white wavy lines.

Surprise Observation

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A red-spotted purple butterfly flew into the oak in our front yard. It made many short stops on different leaves, acting like it was looking for a place to lay an egg. Butterflies tap their front feet on the leaf to smell it.

Obviously, I didn’t take this picture today. She moved so fast I wasn’t even going to go out and try for pictures.

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I’ve never seen them lay eggs in oaks, but my butterfly books list oak as a host tree. It moved around in the tree so quickly that I couldn’t tell if it laid an egg or not.

Oak trees hybridize, so I’m not sure what kind this one is. I know it’s in the the black oak family because the leaves are bristle-tipped.

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The female lays her eggs singly on the tip of the leaf where predators aren’t likely to find it. Red-spotted purples their eggs in wild black cherry  and willow trees.

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The little caterpillar eats the leaf along the vein. It cuts off a piece of the leaf, leaving it to dangle and draw attention away from the caterpillar.

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The caterpillar’s pattern changes as it grows.

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This caterpillar is full grown and ready to pupate.

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It looks like I should occasionally check the oak leaves for red-spotted purple eggs and caterpillars.

Camouflaged!

Are you impressed with my picture of this small branch off an ash tree?

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It even includes a caterpillar.

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This is the other end of the stick with another caterpillar on it.

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The head end of the caterpillar resembles a bent stick.

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The caterpillar shows better here with its hairs raised from the broken twig.

It’s a caterpillar of a dot-lined white moth (Artace cribraria) which grows to two inches long. They feed mostly at night and rest on the bark during the day. Their host plants include cherry and oak trees, roses and other woody plants. They overwinter in the egg.

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Years ago my Mother and I were having a picnic at Bell Smith Springs in the Shawnee National Forest (in southern Illinois). The caterpillar dot-lined white moth above joined us at the picnic table. It didn’t blend in with the table as well as it thought it did.

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It didn’t like her attention and “eyes” opened on the back of its thorax in an attempt to scare us.

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Then to get its point across, it raised into a cobra position and swayed back and forth from one side to the other.

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It refused to be intimidated!

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Its fake head resembled that of a cobra’s head.

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