Nature is cruel, survival, and all of that. Feather found a tomato worm. She worried the thing across the deck, pawing, and toying with it. She licked it – taste test. Then, she bit it and swallowed it. I was a bit shocked. Not surprised. Just amazed that her base instinct took over. Gone. Hardly a meal, a mere snack. Done.
Sphinx moth, tomato horn worm. I got ‘em. How? Dunno. They showed up eating a bite out of my green tomatoes. They proceeded to eat the leaves leaving bare stems. They pooped leaving droppings outside the tomato pot. Finally!!! I caught on. Duh!! First one, then another, then another… Colleen said they had to go. She’s got the farm background. Ok! They stick to the plant like glue. I fashioned chop sticks from two BBQ skewers. No luck. (They stick, remember?) The anatomy is fascinating. Fake “eye” spots. Horn! Multiple pairs of “clinging” legs in clustered pairs. The mouth end looks to have row upon row of teeth to chomp the leaves to the stem. They poop! But! They seem to poop near the head not the tail end. (Yes! That is pictured, top center.) That was interesting (too). I mistook the horn for the head and the head was so non-descript to be mistaken for the tail. Ha ha! My bad. I know my vision is fading with age… but maybe there’s something worse when you can’t tell the head from the tail.
At least this is what I call them. And it’s what I taught my kids to call them. Do you recall Proust’s La Madeleine? No matter. The appearance of a wooly bear recalls to me the childhood of my children and that magic moment when they first saw a wooly bear themselves. I was the one to point it out. And so, I passed down knowledge. Ah, they can’t take that away from me.
I’ve been shooting images of the swallowtail caterpillar. I don’t touch them or disturb them. But, Mike came to collect some for his garden. Transplant. When I harvested this fellow from the parsley – yes, they eat/love parsley – he sprouted a yellow antenna? It’s probably not an antenna. Wow! I never expected that detail. Surprise! Neat!
“Black swallowtail caterpillar with extended osmeterium. A feature shared by all swallowtail caterpillars, this strange forked protuberance is not found on any other kind of butterfly larva. It has a bad smell and is used to ward off attackers.” http://www.austinbug.com/larvalbugeye/gallery-swallowtail.html
We have monarch butterfly caterpillars. Where do they come from? Ha! Well, we have a bunch of caterpillars eating my parsley. So, they aren’t monarchs. They are swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.
It’s all figured out from what they eat. Monarchs only eat milkweed. Okay! The identification is solved. I’d like to have had monarchs. Alas, it’s not to be. Meanwhile, it’s devilishly hard for me to get a properly focused picture. The depth of field is shallow. The caterpillars are small. There are ways… but a point and shoot isn’t the best tool. I got shots.
I didn’t try to go out and find my macro lens. Well, I did it. I was curious to see if I could get a better shot. No, not better, different. There were pros and cons. But I was in much better control with manual focus. Autofocus has been around forever. You become dependent. Or, you adapt. Solve the problem. Okay!
It’s a monarch butterfly caterpillar. It’s a lace wing butterfly. The earlier caterpillar (previous post) did not have antennae. This one has two sets. Which end is forward? I think the front is on the short end? But you could fool me. Yeah, I don’t know which end is up. No, the downside is the head and mouth?