Woolly Caterpillar

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Never in a rush;

Familiar brown and black –

Autumn visitor.

 

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A regular visitor in the Fall to our garden – the Woolly Caterpillar!

I noticed these two over a week ago.

Fascinating for me always are their colours and the bristly, yet soft texture of their “woollyness.”

 

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The next day I spied another woolly caterpillar, but this one was ambling along on our driveway, and since I was headed for town, I didn’t want to endanger this little one.

I gently picked it up to move it to a safer spot.  It immediately went into protective mode….all curled up into a woolly ball.  🙂

 

 

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A Happy Ending!

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Hello, Friends!

You may remember a couple of my posts in August about the monarch caterpillars that my mother was fostering.  I had stayed with my parents for a few days and eagerly took photos and observed right along with my parents on the gradual progress of each caterpillar.

In the meantime I had returned back to my home and so wasn’t present when each caterpillar transformed itself into a pupa, then chrysalis….and finally, coming forth from its temporary home as a newly fledged monarch butterfly.

However, my parents kept sending me updates and a couple of photos.  The above photo is one of theirs, and it shows the first of the three emerging from its chrysalis case, while the second one, on the left, is still inside.

My mother sent me this photo with the message, “It’s a girl!”  🙂

I’m pleased to let you know that each of the three in turn and in their own time successfully made their debut – safely until their wings were in fine form – then were moved into the backyard….and flitted away….as is their way, on their long migratory journey south.

And the other two butterflies ended up being a boy and another girl!  🙂

Note:  Here and also here are the earlier posts about the caterpillars that I mentioned above.

 

 

 

 

Three Days Later…

 

Look how it’s grown!

 

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My mother and I replaced older milkweed leaves with newer ones today and had a closer look at all THREE caterpillars.

The one in the top photo is the largest and measures at 3.5 centimetres this morning.

 

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For some perspective to show the leaf size and the caterpillar, I am standing a bit further back.

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This is the next largest one, at 2 centimetres long.

Totally engrossed in munching on its milkweed leaf…

 

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The second one…from a different angle…..

 

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In this last photo I wanted to show the second largest caterpillar as it’s eating, and you can see the third one below it….it’s quite small….only just 0.8 centimetres.

 

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Note:  If you missed the first post highlighting these caterpillars, have a look here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Future Monarch

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Starting out so small,

Eating its way through milkweed

To grow and transform.

 

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I’m visiting at my parents’ place, and my mother excitedly showed me her little “friends.” Each one in a separate glass loosely filled with a couple of freshly picked milkweed leaves.

Her two friends are still quite small and not easily seen.

My mother is once again fostering a couple of monarch caterpillars in comfy protectiveness with fresh milkweed leaves, until they grow into their full size and make their chrysalis for their metamorphosis stage.

This one of the two is the larger and is about the length of my index fingernail right now. About 1 cm.

See the cool eating pattern it has made in this milkweed leaf. 🙂

 

My mother is all excited at these two new ones, as she has successfully nurtured monarch caterpillars in previous years and set them free as butterflies. 

 

Another Day of Wonders!

Hello, Friends in this Enjoyable Blogosphere!

Guess what unforeseen and exciting encounter I had on my walk today….

Give up?

Well, yeah, I DID get to see a few new things along the way.

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Like, for example, my first Woolly Bear Caterpillar of the season – uh huh….a future Pyrrharctia isabella! Yep, the Isabella Tiger Moth. Who knew that a woolly bear turns into a tiger?? Haha!

And yes, another monarch flitted in front of me…..geez! Still not fast enough to get a pic! Beautiful to watch even so.

Then there was a bird flying above…..just soaring on the wind currents, and I thought at first it might be a hawk or along those lines. I watched until it disappeared further into the sky. And then I walked along some more and saw about 4-5 of them all flying about one of the farms I go past. Then I thought….crows? But they looked more brownish in colour…..??  (A friend suggested to me later that it looked like a turkey vulture.)

One of the tall maples that I always admire on my walk had a little secret to show me. All surrounded by its still lush green leaves was a tiny “pocket” of already-turned reddish leaves – like its own little heart of autumn or its own little red “heart” of leaves.  Isn’t that cool?

HOWEVER, the absolute highlight for me was meeting up with someone new! You just never know what a new day will bring! Soooo exciting! She passed me the first time, as I was walking towards the turnaround point, and we briefly said “hi” and “what a beautiful day!” And my iPhone camera was being slow, so I only got a photo of her backside. Darn, I thought at first. Oh well, but at least I got something to remember the unusual contraption she was riding. Well, but wasn’t the Universe having some fun with me, when I later on spied the same cyclist coming towards me on my return leg of the route!! Haha! Second chance here; not wasting it! Got my iPhone ready for some more pics. And then we ended up having an initial brief chat…..and then she pulled over for a lengthier one! I was some tickled!! Oooooeeee! What a cool way to meet someone, and we fell into conversation easy peasy, like that, and had some laughs already. Yes, yes, you guessed it. We ultimately exchanged phone numbers and will be getting together for a really long visit! Gotta love life and its wonderful gifts!

P.S. Later on I googled a bit to find some more info on recumbent trikes, because that’s what she was riding. Just the coolest thing!

All Dressed Up in White and Black

Caterpillars are irresistible to watch, as they go about their business.  And so many have such attractive patterns and colouring.

This one, with this classic combination of white and black is one to be wary of…..similar in a way to the monarch, in that it is unpleasant for eating by its predators.  Of course, humans aren’t necessarily in the habit of eating caterpillars; however, we DO sometimes want to touch them.  That’s where it’s prudent to be wary, because this one can cause skin rashes and irritations, if touched.

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My son and I spotted this little fella about three weeks ago. First time we’d ever seen this caterpillar. I took photos so that at some point I could find a way to identify it. On Monday when I was visiting with a friend of mine, we saw a few of these very same caterpillars – as we were sitting under the willow tree – and she said that she hadn’t had a chance to identify them yet. So, I just googled to find an image that resembled mine.
Voilà!
It’s the LOPHOCAMPA CARYAE ie. the hickory tussock caterpillar.


“Caterpillars are seen between July and September.
The moth primarily feeds on hickory, pecan and walnuts, but will also eat ash, elm, oak, willow, and other plants.
The larva, a caterpillar, is completely covered in long, hairlike setae arranged in spreading tufts. Most are white, but there are black tufts along the middle of the back, and four long black hair pencils, two near the front, and two near the back.
These hairs cause itchy rashes in some people.[2] They are microscopically barbed and may cause serious medical complications if they are transferred from the hands to the eyes.[3] There are black spots along the sides, and the head capsule is black.” – from Wikipedia

In this photo, with its black face, white eyes, and front feet outstretched…..spooky!

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