Thursday, July 22, 2010

Declaring Defeat

Lee calls these size caterpillars, "meaty".
He also refers to them as "yours".

Example:
"I found one of your caterpillars in the pool this morning."
"Oh. What kind?"
"You know, one of those big, meaty caterpillars"
A couple posts ago, I had a bowl full of these meaty caterpillars that I was preparing to give to the chickens. Turns out the chickens don't like them so much. Unfortunately, these cats are anything but meaty. They are just giant green goo, surrounded by interesting looking skin. I'm guessing the green goo isn't palatable to my finicky chickens.

The one in this picture went totally undetected until I woke up one morning and discovered another morning glory plant was missing. Well, not missing. It was missing most of its leaves.
These caterpillars go through several stages (instars) before they are fully grown. The earlier stages are exactly the color of the plant. So, unless you are really looking for them, they go about their business eating your plants. It isn't until they get very big that plants seem to disappear overnight.

I'm having a hard time identifying these caterpillars. What I suspect is that the cat in the picture above is a Pink-Spotted Hawk Moth (seen below).


I've also had my share of Tomato Horn Worms aka the caterpillar stage of the Five-Spotted Hawk moth.

At this point, my tomato plants and my morning glory vines are nearly a thing of the past. My morning glories weren't doing so hot anyway. My tomato plants are hanging in there. The caterpillar numbers are slowing down.
As I often do with all things wild---live and let live. I'm just glad that the big, meaty caterpillars stay outdoors. Wouldn't want to step on one of those in the middle of the night.

4 comments:

  1. Too bad they AREN'T meaty. They are so huge you could slice them up and grill them. Your garden plants seemed to have made a good meal FOR THEM.

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  2. Eww. I found our first caterpillar on one of our tomato plants yesterday. It had already done plenty of damage. Boo.

    I can remember visiting my uncle in Washington state as a child. While we were there, he would pay my brother and me 10 cents for every caterpillar we could find in his vegetable garden. That was the only time I thought they were cool. :)

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  3. My heavens, CeeCee! Those are HUGE!!!! I agree with you - live and let live. And pray they live a bit away from me! :)

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  4. Im almost certain that I saw 2 of those pink spotted hawk moths on my honeysuckle plant last evening. It was just past dusk and S called me down from tucking the little guy into bed to see them...initially we thought we were seeing small hummingbirds...but upon closer inspection it looked just like these.
    However, I have been doing some reading and WA is not even a state listed where they supposedly keep house....so maybe it was a moth that looked very similar to them?

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