Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scouting for Food

B had a visitor at boy scouts this week. He was out of uniform and he didn't have much to say. But they took him in anyway and B ended up bringing him home to meet me. He knew I'd like him-- and he was right.


This big boy is the caterpillar for the Imperial moth, a big yellow and brown moth. We read that it will eat pine needles and other leaves and so we put some in but have not actually seen it eat. I took him to school on Tuesday and we had such a wonderful time examining him with magnifiers. I showed them pictures of what it will grow into after it pupates in the ground for months. We don't really have the attention span for that and will not try to keep it very much longer. One of the boys suggested that I take pictures to have on our computer slide show that runs as our screen saver. How could I refuse such a reasonable request?

I have yet to find the eyes, and not for lack of trying. I do know which end is which! His face (on the left) is one only a mother could love! See the fine hairs all over his body?


He measures right at 3.5 inches.


Somewhat sadly, I believe those white spots (that are not the sphericles) are wasp eggs. I have read of that happening. Wasps lay their eggs on a large caterpillar that then serves as the host food for those larvae when they hatch: they will eat him. Sphericles, by the way, are the slightly larger spots that are almost yellow in a row down his sides, that are used for respiration.


Now that he had been documented (though he still looks like an alien), we will set him loose in the school yard. There he can continue to scout for food.

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