last post, I briefly described our inaugural trial run caterpillar workshop that was an offshoot of Mothapalooza. More importantly, I shared lots of cool caterpillar photos. I will continue in the latter vein in this post.
This big bruiser is an Imperial Moth caterpillar, Eacles imperialis. As one might expect from such a sizeable cat, the moth that it morphs into is also huge - bat-sized. Most of the last or later instar caterpillars that I've seen have been this showy shade of lime-green. But they certainly can vary in hue. Read on...
Buzzard's Roost Preserve in Ross County. It was near another that looked identical. First time I'd such a wild color variant, but they are well known for sporting different coats.
Parasitoids are different than parasites in that they generally kill their host. Shortly after an egg is deposited on the victim, the grub hatches and bores inside the host. It eats the innards until it matures, then does what we see here. In relatively short order, the wasps will pop from the cocoons.
Gruesome as this may seem, such predation is absolutely vital to keep the stocks of other insects in check. The intricacies of the food web at work, just not in a particularly Disneyesque way.
I've got one more batch of really cool cat pics to share sometime in the near future.