A Day in the Life... Part 33

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:

Also in the realm of caterpillars, I found a Luna moth caterpillar earlier this week. It gave me a little confusion at first, because the caterpillar was an orange/pink color rather than the typical lime green,  it seems that the larva turns a brighter color once it is ready to pupate.

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Our Monarch caterpillars are growing quickly, take a look below:

Monarch Caterpillars

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. 

And finally, here is a gorgeous female Monarch on some Ironweed.

I'm off to feed some more hungry caterpillars!
Posted by Nora