Caterpillars. Brilliantly colored eating machines. Mouths with legs (and in this case a bright yellow tail horn).
|Sorry Charlie, but the All-You-Can-Eat Primrose Buffet is out in the back yard!|
As these things go, this particular caterpillar out by my front sidewalk was eating its way up to the ripening seed pods on one of a very few pink evening primrose plants growing where I'm trying to get them established. I've got banks of them out back.
So I did what I could to gently dislodge it from the singleton plant it was eating bare and I moved it out back to the masses of Oenothera speciosa, where the damage will be negligible.
This may sound silly, but later I went out to the area where I'd moved the caterpillar. I wanted to see if I could find it again and assure myself I'd made the transfer without causing undue harm. The very first caterpillar I found (photo below) had different markings, so while I knew it wasn't the same one I'd moved, I at least felt reassured I'd picked an area other caterpillar mothers chose for their offspring.
The next candidate looked a lot more likely, but how to know for sure?
Truth be told, with my poor identification skills, there was no way to know for sure. After spotting a third caterpillar in the same bed however, I felt that no matter how my original passenger had fared, the survival of the species was not in any way jeopardized.
|This one is headed back down the stem after a job well done. You can see why they don't run much risk of attack from behind.|
It turns out this patch of primroses is a veritable sphinx moth nursery. Lullaby and good night!
Postscript: I wrote and scheduled this post before I discovered another "eater" in the patch - an infestation of four lined leaf bugs. If you didn't previously read about my decision to let one species feed while attempting to eradicate the other, check the post out here.