|Variegated fritillary (Euptoieta claudia).|
These beautiful creatures really love
violas, and have stripped mine bare!
A little later, a light bulb illuminated the dim recesses of my brain: all these butterflies are probably laying eggs, and caterpillars will follow.
Sure enough, we started seeing the larval forms of the butterflies. Unfortunately, we don’t really know one caterpillar from the next. Also, unless you really lean over and peer, you won’t see most caterpillars.
So the little darling and I decided to go on a caterpillar hunt one evening. I grabbed Butterfly Gardening for the South, by Geyata Ajilvsgi, which contained a short list of larval food plants. Smarty that I am, I thought I could look at plants listed there, find caterpillars, take photos and positively identify our visitors. Easy, right?
|This is either a monarch (Danaus plexippus)|
or a queen (Danaus gilippus); a strategically placed leaf
conceals whether it has the third pair of tentacles of a queen.
It is happily dining on antelope horns, a native milkweed.
|Eight-spotted forester moth larva|
(Alypia octomaculata) enjoys
Virginia creeper for dinner.
The genista moth caterpillar
(Uresiphita reversalis) is a pest
on Texas mountain laurel,
but I saw only a few this time..
|This bristly fellow is possibly|
a giant leopard moth
|Mystery caterpillar. Any ideas?|
Favorite spot in the garden: