Thursday, May 20, 2010

A woolly caterpillar for Peyton

My new neighbor, Peyton, turned 11 today. But I didn't know that when James and I walked over with chocolate chip cookies I'd baked to welcome them to the neighborhood. Good timing. During our quick visit, he showed me a plastic container of assorted caterpillars and pillbugs, including what I used to call a woolly bear. Later in the morning, I pulled out my Caterpillars of Eastern North America to find out for sure. I think these fuzzy guys are either salt marsh caterpillars (Estigmene acrea) or yellow bears (Spilosoma virginica). I need to do more research on this. Because I want to get it RIGHT!

Anyway, I happened onto one in the middle of our street. A car was coming. So I wanted to hurry it up across to the grass. Nope. It didn't like my prodding. So it proceeded to...ah...squirt out some green stuff from its end. Yuck. But no time to lose. So I scooped it onto a piece of wood and hurried it over. Whew. We made it! Then I fetched my camera and shot these photos for my new friend, Peyton, the Pillbug Expert.

Happy Birthday!!

1 comment:

mkircus said...

I think the caterpillars are salt marsh caterpillars. I was on a fauna survey with a bug expert at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and that is what she called them. They are found on all kinds of plants. I had one on Jerusalem Sage and another on my Swiss Chard. I threw that one out my back door and he ate all the leaves on a passion vine I'm rooting and then was climbing on my screen.

We found them on many different plants.

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