Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Maybe Not the Best Place to Spin a Cocoon?

Today's shot is actually from last weekend, but I've just not found a place to post it before now, with all the Mantis sightings of late ... during our labors in the Weedorium Fernymoss discovered this erstwhile caterpillar getting ready to spin her/his cocoon in a most precarious place, on the stem of one of the bindweed vines we have in the Woodland Garden. Of course he didn't have the heart to rip it out (in vain) as we usually do, but decided to get a few shots instead. I won't identify it just yet because I thought it might be fun for readers to test their skills at IDing caterpillars, so here's your chance! What do you think (s)he's going to turn into when all is said and done? Let me know in the comments....

I'm a bit concerned about the choice of this particular place, because even if we let the bindweed go, it will die in the fall and any cocoon will likely fall to the ground, but maybe that's her/his plan? Or perhaps (s)he will finish the metamorphosis before frost and wing on out before the cold weather sets in? I have to admit that as much as I love butterflies, I only have a rudimentary knowledge of their habits ... we just try to provide them with as much food and shelter as we can to keep them thriving and coming back each year. We've really been seeing a definite uptick in the number of caterpillars around the garden lately, though this one is very special to us ... there seem to be a lot of 'Wooly Bears' out and about, not to mention the one in yesterday's post, which Shady Gardener has tentatively IDed as some sort of Sphinx Moth.

And finally, for you Pepa fans out there, I'm posting a video of her prowling around yesterday as we grilled in the backyard ... just her usual survey of her domain, but she does go to the area where she discovered the nest of 3 baby bunnies last week, but no one was home, so she quickly lost interest! It's a bit longer than usual (43 seconds), but I thought Olivia would appreciate this one! Enjoy, doggie fans!


Shady Gardener said...

This is definitely a Monarch caterpillar. It will emerge about 7 - 10 days, I think, after it makes its chrysalis. Keep an eye on it, you'll love the changes it goes through! Its chrysalis is a light green shell with gold (!) dots. As it changes and gets ready to hatch, the "shell" becomes translucent and you can see the dark markings of the Monarch wings. You may be fortunate enough to see it hatch! If so, it will crawl out and spend some time drying off and pumping blood into its wings before flying away. Fall hatching Monarchs are the ones that migrate. From here, they fly to Mexico. :-) I love this!! We very often were able to watch this in the classroom... and last year, I provided one grandchild, one niece, one neighbor child and another neighbor's grandchild with the caterpillar metamorphosis experience! Have fun!!!

Janet said...

Wicked Cool!

This is why I have butterfly bushes. :)

IVG, there was a hitch this morning on the first day of school. Bus drove on my Wes' stop. He fuhhhreaked out but I gather so did other kids on the bus who insisted the new driver turn around and pick him up. Who needs caffiene? When you get these "wonderful" mornings. LOL

Maybe Pepa should wait outside with Wes to make sure the bus does it job. :)

Pssst did ya hear Amy Goodman was illegally arrested and her producers were beaten and bloodied.

Roses and Lilacs said...

I had to smile at Pepa. She sat there for so long thinking about what to do. Then it was like she suddenly remembered that bunny and went to check it out;)

Did you take the with the video mode on a regular digital camera?

boran2 said...

That's a nice photo of the cocoon. I haven't seen many butterflies this year, only just a few in the area. Maybe it's a weather thing.

Say hi to Pepa.

Gail said...

You guys have all the good bugs! I get the creepy ones like Milkweed bug or phlox bug...can we trade?


Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
I knew you'd nail this one in no time flat! Fernymoss went out and found it again, and I'll have a picture of the Chrysalis up soon ... it was exactly 10 days ago that he found the caterpillar, so its hatching time must be sometime very soon, this week, most definitely don't you think?

It is an exciting process to see in the garden, and thanks again for all the great info!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Janet,
That does sound like way too much excitement for Wes on his first day back! Poor guy, but it did work out ok, right?

Sorry hon, but Pepa's taken! But she would make a good companion, that's for sure!

Yeah, I read that about Amy last night, and from what I saw, they were very rough on her crew as they were trying to cover some events. I hadn't realized it had gotten that riled up in St. Paul!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie!
I need to do some serious catching up over at your place (I took a peek today at all you posted recently), so excuse my laxness the past few days.

Anyway, you know that any time I try to catch her doing something truly cute, she will turn it off and ignore me, lol.

I've done all the videos I've posted so far with my trusty Fuji S700 ... a truly amazing camera, I think. I never dreamed I'd get such good quality video with it, and I took this particular one with a good degree of zoom (it has a 10X), which usually seems to degrade it a bit, but this one turned out ok, I think.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
Too bad you've not had very many butterflies up your way ... we've had quite a few all summer long, but then we plant a lot of stuff to bring them in too. :-)

The caterpillar was just starting to make its chrysalis then, and I'll have an updated photo up later, so stop back!

Pepa sends a friendly woof your way from the other room where she's pestering Fernymoss....

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail!
Sorry about the creepy bugs, but no thanks on the trade (sorry!) What you said the other day about the compost still cracks me up ... we got an enormous pumpkin vine and you got a black widow, lol.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have a Monarch decide to undergo its metamorphosis in our Woodland Garden ... hope we see more in the future!

olivia said...

Thanks toots! Any little glimpse of the fabulous Ms P makes me day -- to get a video was so much fun!!!!

Very kewl on the monarch chrysalis ... looking forward to the updates.

(I watched the speech ... had tears ... seeing him standing there ... w/ all those people ... was amazing!)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Olivia!
I was hoping you'd get to see her lounging and roaming around the yard.... Make sure you also check out the Mantis videos, esp the one with the bagpipes playing in the background, happy coincidence.

We didn't get out to the Chrysalis today (very cool and somewhat rainy), so we hope he hasn't flown the coop just yet!

I cried too, but it was a good kind of crying! :-)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Pepa looks almost like a negative image of my late, great mutt Coco. Same ears, same tail & tail carriage, same size, same head shape. Coco was mostly black with tan & white markings. Best dog we ever had.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

How interesting she resembles your Coco ... my previous dearly departed was a Coco too! But she was a Cardigan Corgi/Dalmatian mix, and one of the best dogs ever (except Pepa!) as well. She's been gone 13 years this month but I still miss her and her wry charm.

You know that song that Fred Willard and Catherine O'Hara sing in Best in Show? It's true ... God must love a terrier! (Except theirs was one of the foo-foo ones, lol.)

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