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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Prodigy

 
Loretta, Ramona and I took a fun walk at Nordhouse Dunes today and saw some awesome plants, but I think I'll have to save that, so I can continue the caterpillar tale.

First thing this morning, I went out to check the milkweed plant. Here's what I found. The bare stalk sticking out to the left is the leaf they were on yesterday! The are mostly on the upper right leaf.

milkweed tussock moth caterpillars

When I turned it over... wow! One- only one- caterpillar has gone to instar 4, and now looks like a tiny version of the final instar, at about a half inch in length. See his orange markings with the black tufts?

milkweed tussock moth caterpillars

If you had asked me before watching this how long each instar phase lasts I would have guessed a week. Each one has been about one day! I went back out at 1 pm to check again. They were moving to the only large upper leaf remaining.

milkweed tussock moth caterpillars

And where's the child prodigy? He appears to be out there exploring new territory with more boldness than his siblings.

milkweed tussock moth caterpillars

When I checked before dark, they were all on that upper leaf, but there was still only the one instar 4. I wonder if they will figure out to go down the stalk when they run out of leaves.

See Hungry, Hungry Caterpillars
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3 comments:

Ann said...

fascinating.

vanilla said...

Here, I have learned more about caterpiggles than I ever thought to ask.

Secondary Roads said...

This has become a most interesting tale.

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