I feel fortunate that I found these little Saddleback Caterpillars.
They were not in their usual place, the underside of leaves on the banana trees.
This year they are on my coffee tree.
I only found them because I was removing scale from the underside of the coffee leaves.
There are three. All are small.
This one is not much bigger than those nasty scale.( brown dot on the left)
They hide under the leaves and crawl along the stem to another leaf.
The spines of the Sabine stimulea sting, so I know not to touch them.
Look but don’t touch!
Flower and Friends
Okay. I know these are not the same caterpillars as last year.
Those are long gone as Fritillary butterflies.
I grow these wild Passion vines just for them.
I have been inspecting the leaves for weeks.
I was beginning to get concerned.
Then they appeared.
Large and small. Over and under. Here and there.
Just like always.
I love them with a Passion.
My parsley plant started disappearing again.
Last time this happened, I found a little striped Black Swallowtail caterpillar munching on it.
After a few days it crawled up on the Passion vine, changed shape,
formed a chrysalis, and disappeared.
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.
The plant has been moved out of reach of Miss Munchie.
She was out there searching for her snack this morning.
Whew! These rabbits keep me hopping.
I had to search for these two, but I knew that they ate banana leaves.
These are Saddleback caterpillars/Archaria stimulea.
They are beautiful. The hairs are their stingers. Their venom is painful.
I was stung by one over thirty years ago. I still remember the shock of it.
Itty bitty, greenie weanie, tiny little stinging meanie.
I found this fuzzy baby munching on some Lucifer leaves.
He looks so much like a tiny Barley bunny, that I wanted to pick him up.
Good thing I know better.
This sweet little puss caterpillar also has another name.
Megalopyge opercularis/Flannel moth caterpillar/wooly slug
If you must pet it, you will get stung.
He’s cute, but he’s mean.
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.
I intended to write a post about moving plants until you and the plant are both happy.
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.
If you look down, you see feces. Now the water in the cups has the color of coffee. Yuck!
So thus the name of the post, in honor of Thomas Crapper of Chelsea. The owner of an early lavatory manufacturer in London.
My OCD self keeps flushing the leaves with water. No pun intended.
My first orders of business when I return from a trip are to check on the bunnies
and then to tour my plants to check for any changes.
To my shock and horror, when I peered into the baby fern box
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.
Something had eaten the Dragon’s Tails down to the bones.
There were droppings left on the dish below. Evidence.
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.
Ah Ha! Bad, Bad Larva Brown. He and his little Green Sidekick were escorted outside.
Go pick on a bigger fern you bullies.
I hope little Dragon’s Tail can recover from this shock.
There is a whole world on one weed in my garden.
I did not kill this weed because of a hybrid I fell in love with in Tuscany.
So when I saw it growing on the bank, I staked it up to compare it with the hybrid.
What a wonderful weed it has been.
This wild Passion vine/Maypop/Passiflora incarnata has been a whole laboratory.
There are ants on the pods and stems.
The best part is all the caterpillars of various sizes.
Tiny, shiny, spiky, orange and black caterpillars of Fritillary butterflies.
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.
My daddy’s favorite color of blue, bluebird blue.
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.
Butterflies do not just hatch from the egg with wings.
They must first go through a larval stage called caterpillar.
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.
Now everybody loves butterflies and colorful moths.
What if we went around killing all the weird and spiky worms in our yards?
Then there would be no lovely fliers later, because everyone killed them as babies.
If you don’t ” love some larvae”, leave them alone.
They are waiting for their wings.