I love this combination. It is colorful chaos and breaks rules.
Maybe that’s why I love it.
The tall Verbena bonariensis should be in the back, but it moved to the front.
At least Asclepias tuberosa has stayed in it’s place.
I noticed some tiny brown grenades (frass) on its leaves.
Follow the poop to the pupa.
I am happy to see these.
They will by Monarch butterflies in a bit.
I consider butterflies airborne flowers.
Through the purple to the orange you will find someone wearing yellow with black stripes.
That will someday change to an orange and black ensemble and fly away.
My garden amazes me.
I know that everyone pulls these off their tomato plants and kills them.
I know they munch on the tomato leaves and poop on the plant.
That’s how I find them.
There is something that might make you pause before you murder one.
These big Tobacco Hornworm caterpillars (Manduca quinquemaculata)
turn into large Carolina Sphinx moths.
These moths come at sunset to my Four-o’clock flowers.
They are spectacular and magical. They are worth every leaf they eat.
Sometimes eggs of a parasitic wasp are laid on them. Ouch!
So be a good host to these giant, green munchers,
later you will be rewarded by flyers that look a lot like fairies.
I have treasures I do not own.
I have waited for years for Monarchs to come to my Butterfly weed.
Finally, they came and laid eggs on the Asclepias tuberosa.
Now there are caterpillars eating the Asclepias leaves as they should.
I hope they pupate where I can watch over them.
(I do not interfere with wildlife unless necessary.)
I am thrilled they are here. They are treasured guests.
I hope the cycle continues for years to come.
More Monarchs…More caterpillars…
Thanks to some seeds that I saved from another garden.
My dreams are small. My treasures are alive.
Life is precious.
This is so much easier than chasing butterflies.
My three Saddlebacks, Acharia stimulea, have stayed on the coffee tree for weeks now.
They are slowly getting bigger as they nibble leaves away from end to stem.
I caught a photo of one just as it molted.
One paused on top of a bean for hours.
I have been stung several times trying to find them. I pester pests.
They have a face on their backside to trick predators.
I will miss them when they pupate.
It’s been one of my daily tasks to check on them.
Beautiful but toxic.
Not everything cute should be petted.
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.