Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The cactus and the caterpillar

Yesterday, James told me that he could see the pink cactus bloom in our new cacti bed from the street when he drove by. So I followed him out there and was surprised to see that the bloom had REALLY opened since the day before. It was beautiful. So I ran back to the house for my camera....

As we were admiring the flower (and the beetle), James noticed an orange-and-black caterpillar with white spots, high-tailing it across the ground toward the cactus. It seemed to be in a big hurry. And it appeared to be heading straight for the cactus in bloom!

As you can image, we were surprised when the bristled fellow did crawl onto the cactus. At first, we thought it might stay and gnaw on the flower. Not quite...

Well, it did pause and take a quick break, almost like it was posing for me. Then the caterpillar headed back down the cactus and onto the ground again.

And off it went, headed west with great determination and purpose. I wish I could identify the species, but I haven't been able so far. But this I know: our little caterpillar will be one special butterfly. And maybe we'll meet again.

I feel honored that we met in the first place.

UPDATE–Our blooming beauty is likely a lace cactus (Echinocereus reichenbachii). Just happened to spot a similar one in a borrowed book, Wildflowers, Trees, and Shrubs of Texas by Delena Tull and George Oxord Miller.

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