Saturday, October 11, 2008

Larval (Caterpillars that is) Lessons...

The weather in NE Indiana rocks right now. Yes, absolutely rocks - the sun is shining, the leaves are changing and it is warm; we are loving it! To celebrate, Steve and I rode our bikes over to Arrowhead Marsh and took a hike. We even packed some hummus and yes, squash rolls so we could linger in the sun and chat and look at small critters like caterpillars.

Here are two fun sightings of the outing:

Smartweed Caterpillar (Native to the U.S.) -
The Smartweed Caterpillar often feeds on many types of plants, but very often on smartweed (pictured), hence the name. Smartweed is generally a plant of wetlands and wet places so these are good places to look for this caterpillar. The caterpillar forms a cocoon in leaves and debris and then emerges as the Smeared Dagger Moth, a pretty black/gray/white moth.

Cabbage White (Introduced from Europe and now naturalized) -
This caterpillar turns into the commonly seen white butterfly in our yards, fields, roadsides, etc. (By the way - if the white butterfly has one spot, you know it is a boy; females have two spots.) Plants in the mustard family serve as this caterpillars sole food plants, which includes native mustards and the mustard greens you plant for salad as well as cabbage, broccoli, etc.

Hope you all are enjoying fair fall weather too!

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