Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nom. Nom. Nom.

Today I was watering my little pink dogwood (the one thing I planted this year that is doing really well) and noticed an unusual leaf. When I looked closer...I saw this leaf had some nommage going on. Interesting how this little guy made himself a comfortable place to sprawl while eating the leaf at the same time. Such efficiency and on such chubby little legs.

When I turned the leaf around to get a better look at him, I got to see this crazy patterning on his back. My eyes just saw a brown spot which could be excellent camouflage if you're busy cutting up a leaf and want to make the leaf look like you did it days ago...

...but on a computer, that's a heck of a lot of pretty pattern going on... I wonder what those bugs flying around with compound eyes see when something like this hits their eyes? It's got to be "Eeeeee-ouch."

Meanwhile, that little garden I planted a month ago, now looks like this...

Actually, the daylilies look great, the hostas look great, but apparently the "White Swan" echinaceas looked too great to pass up because obviously, they were delicious. Those caterpillars tore through the middle of the garden nomming down all the coneflowers and then just like that, the party was over.

I found a spent chrysalis attached to one of the dead coneflower leaves and although I regret the loss of the coneflowers so soon after planting...

I hope someone did not find that fresh little butterfly nom-worthy and um, delicious.

Or maybe I do. >:-)

6 comments:

Leenie said...

Talk about mixed emotions---How pretty. NO, stop eating my plants! How amazing! You thief, you worm!

Maria said...

Exactly!!!!! I kept going back and forth while writing this post, trying to figure out if I was happy or if I was not happy. The naturalist in me was thinking "cool," the gardener in me was thinking "NOOOOOOoooooOOOOOOoooooooOOO!" The native plants enthusiast in me was thinking, "This is how it's supposed to work." The chronic purchaser of all things exotic was thinking, "Thank Gawd those bugs left the hostas and daylilies alone." Yes. Conflicted I am. I've been thinking about the party those caterpillars had and now choose to look at it as this: "They came, they ate, they left as butterflies."

But did they have to be so darn thorough?????

MObugs said...

I think your lovely caterpillar is a saddled prominent (Heterocampa guttivitta) or sometimes called Maple prominent. I used to plant my gardens with the idea of enjoying the plants, now I plant my garden with the idea of enjoying the critters that visit the plants. It is amazing the diversity of caterpillars that show up.

Maria said...

Shelly! I guessed what that caterpillar could be and got it verified at BugGuide.net and I guess, from you too now!! :-) Finally, a little confidence boost in getting an ID right! And yes, I was aiming to plant for wildlife too but was a little stunned with what happened so fast to my coneflowers. Sheesh. I thought those bugs could pace themselves. Apparently not. I'm working on my next post of the next wave of caterpillars that moved in. But I am a total caterpillar convert now. I've been driving around the city looking for appropriate plants in the Rutaceae family so my baby giant swallowtail butterfly caterpillars have something good to eat. The wafer ash was taken down......and soon the hardy orange will be too.....but those plants will come back, maybe....whatever. What's important is that I'm a caterpillar mom now and those babies have got to eat. Hahaha.

Swamp Dog said...

I love my Hostas, but is a constant battle with the slugs and voles. Hostas must taste like candy to them!

Maria said...

Swamp Dog-I think people eat them too! :-P