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Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 16:05

On July 22, I spotted this creature in my elderberry (Sambucus - Black Lace). I had to do some research before I was able to determine what I was seeing.

This is the caterpillar for the Cecropia moth. It seems that they feed on maple and apple and pear trees. I have all of those, but this one was on my Black Lace. Dark foliage makes it stand out, which might lead to its early demise. It would be more natural to exist on the green-leaf trees.


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 16:10

Here is one of the photos from 8/6. Much larger and some of the colors are changing a bit.

Again, more research was needed. These caterpillars go through several stages where they shed their outer layer and then continue to grow. What I find interesting is that once they have done their eating routine, they will make a cocoon and that will be it until next spring (possibly May - depending on our winter weather). I don't know if a cocoon will be be spun on this plant, or what. I will continue to check on a twice a day basis.


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 16:14

I little different angle and a lot bigger caterpillar. This was taken on 8/9. There is no attempt to camouflage itself. Bold colors (which are interesting in itself), keeps it from blending into its surroundings.

More information about the moth. Once it emerges in the spring, it will exist only for a short time. The moth has not mouth parts and will not be able to eat. It exists solely to procreate and then die. The moths are nocturnal, so I doubt that I will ever see one of them live.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cecropia moth adult


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

What a cool caterpillar! Thanks for showing us.


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 16:17

I took this photo this morning. Still chewing away. It pauses every once in a while to digest, I guess. The caterpillars breathe through small slits behind their chewing mechanism. The mouth is strictly for ingesting foliage.


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 16:21

Aha! I discover a second one! I really knot know how I missed it. They are on the same side of the plant, but on different branches. One of them is working its way from the top (will not eat new growth) and the other working its way from the center to the top.

A neighbor asked if I had named them. I decided not to do that, as I cannot determine their sex!


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 16:23

Here is a good close up.

AMAZING!


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 16:26

It dawned on me today to look farther. This is their waste. It appears, on close examination, as though it were an extruded, perfectly symmetrical product.


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

are you sure those arent mulberries.. lol ..

brilliant pix ... thx

ken


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

Jim, as usual your pictures are so good. It is amazing to see the detail of the caterpillar's chewing apparatus in that picture. I have read before that some creatures, frogs for instance, have bright colors on their body to scare off predators as the colors make them think the frog is bad tasting or poisonous.


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Jim, excellent photos,
Luv your subject posting. Your next chapter is a very happy moth.
Oh, I have to admit that the caterpillar is cute.


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Such an unusual caterpillar, I like the coloring very much. We don't have those creatures here in the West.


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 13:46

Madame Monarch on milkweed in the back yard.


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  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 13:48

Not more than 18 inches away, a monarch caterpillar. Hooray! None last year, all those milkweed plants and the only things to enjoy them were the oleander aphids.


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 13:50

A close view of oleander aphids. They suck the milky sap from the milkweed. I have deadheaded many flowers this year to try to keep them under control to no effect. Supposedly, lacewings and lady bugs love to dine on these, but I have not seen either one in the garden this year.


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

Great pictures. The caterpillar has such a lovely coloring.

Jim, do you have near you by any chance a streetlight? Quit often you find dead moths underneath them. They kill themselves hitting the light.
I just mentioned yesterday to my husband that I have not seen any lacewings this year and the ladybugs are missing too. A couple of years ago we had an invasion of the Asian ladybugs and was told that they displaced our red ones.


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Madame Monarch, is milking the Milkweed ,
Fab photo.


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RE: Stuff outside the house - next chapter.

  • Posted by Jim-1 5b Illinois (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 22:35

No street lights, we are in a 10 year old subdivision that just got annexed into the city. I have a 25 watt bulb in a yard light and a few of the neighbors keep their garage lights on, but that is it out here in the sticks.

There had been three monarch caterpillars; however, this morning, I found only three! Several weeks ago, I saw a Black Swallowtail caterpillar on some dill. After about one week it disappeared. I looked around and have not been able to discover a spot where it might have gone. Today, while doing stuff outside, I did see a Black Swallowtail bouncing around the yard. It sill have lots of dill and carrot tops for snacking. We'll see.

In the meantime, "Fred and Ethel" are still chewing away. Here's a photo from Wednesday evening.


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You are talking disappearing dill? Been there, done that, but it only took two days for my dill plants to be eaten down to the stalks.
I had planned to make "gravelax" a cured salmon with salt and
dill but somebody got to the diill before I did.Sigh.


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