Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In the Butterfy Garden: Caterpillar Predators

Customers often tell me that caterpillars they've been watching have suddenly disappeared and they wonder what could have happened to them. Sometimes they've just grown up and have gone off to pupate. But often they have become a victim of predators. Birds, of course, love a nice tasty caterpillar, but many smaller critters are predators as well. I recently captured two such predators with my camera.

This is a paper wasp devouring a monarch caterpillar. . . .
Wasp killing caterpillar

And this is what's left of a monarch caterpillar after a wasp is through with it:
Caterpillar after wasp attack

Lizards (or anoles as most of our lizards are appropriately called) eat butterfly eggs and caterpillars. Here is a lizard with an adult butterfly. It was at the end of it's life and was struggling on the sidewalk. I could see the lizard eyeing it and then grab it. It was a pretty heavy load for the lizard so I had time to run get my camera and snap this picture just before the poor butterfly was carried into the brush:
Lizzard catching swallowtail

1 comment:

http://supportingourtroops2008.blogspot.com/ said...

I have been a amateur gardner for quite a while, but as I type this our yard is finally getting professional help from a landscaper who just loves our Florida native species. We are going to incoporate my left over plantings that work to attract and feed the bee's and butterflies. I just found your blog and just love the articles and photos. I hope that you keep up your blog it really is packed with a lot of helpful information as well as things people may not ever get the chance to see in their own garden. When I get the chance I would like to come back to this blog and check out your previous articles. I just recently bought Rosemary's Gladstars book called Family Herbal and she highly recommends buying seeds and plants from local growers in your own state and that is how I found your website.