Parsley in Protective Custody

My parsley plant started disappearing again.

Last time this happened, I found a little striped Black Swallowtail caterpillar munching on it.

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After a few days it crawled up on the Passion vine, changed shape,

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formed a chrysalis, and disappeared.

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This time though, I could not find the culprit.

Each day the plant got smaller and smaller.

Ah Ha!  I finally caught the bandit in action.

No Black Swallowtail this go-round.

It was a black New Zealand Lop rabbit, Charlotte.

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The plant has been moved out of reach of Miss Munchie.

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She was out there searching for her snack this morning.

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Whew! These rabbits keep me hopping.

FLOWER

Another Cute Little Stinger

I had to search for these two, but I knew that they ate banana leaves.

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Saddleback caterpillars. Large one above the scissor handle. Small one at the point.

These are Saddleback caterpillars/Archaria stimulea.

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They are beautiful.  The hairs are their stingers.   Their venom is painful.

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I was stung by one over thirty years ago. I still remember the shock of it.

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Itty bitty, greenie weanie, tiny little stinging meanie.

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He’s Cute! Can I Pet Him?

I found this fuzzy baby munching on some Lucifer leaves.

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He looks so much like a tiny Barley bunny, that I wanted to pick him up.

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Good thing I know better.

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This sweet little puss caterpillar also has another name.

Asp caterpillar.

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Megalopyge opercularis, wooly slug, asp caterpillar

Megalopyge opercularis/Flannel moth caterpillar/wooly slug

If you must pet it, you will get stung.

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He’s cute, but he’s mean.

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Coffee Cups Caterpillar Crapper

This is NOT how I intended this to turn out.

I have been very pleased with the new placement of Colocasia escuelenta/ Coffee cups/ West Indian Kale near the small fish pond.

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I intended to write a post about moving plants until you and the plant are both happy.

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Well, now there is a third party involved.

The oak tree above is full of munching little caterpillars.

If you look up, you see naked limbs.

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If you look down, you see feces.  Now the water in the cups has the color of coffee. Yuck!

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So thus the name of the post, in honor of Thomas Crapper of Chelsea. The owner of an early lavatory manufacturer in London.

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My OCD self keeps flushing the leaves with water.  No pun intended.

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The Disappearing Fern

My first orders of business when I return from a trip are to check on the bunnies

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and then to tour my plants to check for any changes.

To my shock and horror, when I peered into the baby fern box

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my prized Dragon’s Tail fern/Aspleniaceae x Ebenoides was missing many fronds.

Not whole fronds. The midribs remained sticking out nakedly brown without the lovely green scales.

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Something had eaten the Dragon’s Tails down to the bones.

There were droppings left on the dish below.  Evidence.

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A hungry caterpillar was feasting on my favorite fern.

I searched the soil before examining each frond.

I found a small green snacker, but knew he was not large enough to produce the poop.

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Ah Ha!    Bad, Bad Larva Brown.  He and his little Green Sidekick were escorted outside.

Go pick on a bigger fern you bullies.

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I hope little Dragon’s Tail can recover from this shock.

FERN MAMA

My Weed

There is a whole world on one weed in my garden.

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I did not kill this weed because of a hybrid I fell in love with in Tuscany.

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So when I saw it growing on the bank, I staked it up to compare it with the hybrid.

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What a wonderful weed it has been.

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This wild Passion vine/Maypop/Passiflora incarnata has been a whole laboratory.

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There are ants on the pods and stems.

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The best part is all the caterpillars of various sizes.

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Tiny, shiny, spiky, orange and black caterpillars of Fritillary butterflies.

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I check on this plant every day and find something new.

An added bonus is a beautiful, blue morning glory that grew up into the Passion vine.

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My daddy’s favorite color of blue, bluebird blue.

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I have been blessed by this weed.  I am so thankful I did not kill it.

Where would all those lovely caterpillars be?  Nowhere, that’s where.

Follow the weed.

Lovin’ some Larvae

Butterflies do not just hatch from the egg with wings.

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Fritillary Butterfly

They must first go through a larval stage called caterpillar.

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Variegated Fritillary caterpillar on Passion vine

Then they have to bind themselves up for a while to go through metamorphosis.

While they are wrapped up(pupating) in the chrysalis (not pictured),

all their cells rearrange into a butterfly or moth.  Then they have their wings.

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Sphinx moth caterpillar on Four o’clocks

Now everybody loves butterflies and colorful moths.

What if we went around killing all the weird and spiky worms in our yards?

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Fritillary caterpillar after molting

Then there would be no lovely fliers later, because everyone killed them as babies.

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Gulf Fritillary caterpillar on Passion vine

If you don’t ” love some larvae”, leave them alone.

They are waiting for their wings.

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