I feel like my week could be a passage from Eric Carle’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
|Cecropia Moth Caterpillar|
They eat, and eat, and eat some more, I’ve been sure to check their food supply, Wild Black Cherry leaves, a couple times a day! Just like the caterpillars from Eric Carle’s book, I’m sure they would eat an entire picnic if I gave it to them!
|Hungry Cecropia Moth Caterpillars at the end of a long day|
A caterpillar has just one job, to eat. Since adult Cecropia moths do not have mouth parts, these caterpillars must consume enough food to supply themselves through adulthood. Without proper nutrition a caterpillar might not have enough energy to undergo metamorphosis and reproduce. Once the caterpillar is ready it will spin a tough cocoon. Inside, it will complete metamorphosis and emerge early summer of the next year. Below is an adult Cecropia:
|Luna Moth Caterpillar|
While out gathering milkweed for them I came across another curious caterpillar, or should I say a bunch of curious caterpillars. I identified them to be Milkweed Tussock Caterpillars (Euchaetes egle) They had completely defoliated a small milkweed plant, leaving only the bare stems.