Fall Caterpillars September 09, 2007
Having returned home from the Fall Warbler Conference in Lakeside, happy but tired to the bone, here is the first of some fun photos.
Logically, most people would return with warbler shots, but not me :) While warblers are fascinating, they are too fast for my camera skills- so here is a color-splash that didn't get away from me.
On a quick venture out into the Marblehead Lakeside Daisy preserve we found many rare and unusual plants. One that may not be so rare, but is certainly lovely is the Slender or Common False Foxglove, Agalinis tenuifolia. Agalinis means "remarkable flax" in Latin- and I like that descriptor. It is certainly one of my favorite plants.
And on this particular plant was a caterpillar that could put a warbler to shame in the color department. Check out those yellow "wing-bars" and bright blue blotches! It took some pretty close inspection to get the full impact, but it wasn't too hard to find in the Wagner Caterpillar bible. The Common Buckeye! Very cool. We have seen more than usual this year, and obviously they have made their way all the way to our lake shores and are setting up housekeeping. Unfortunately, this guy is doomed. Buckeyes just can not take the Ohio cold in any form, and this one is destined to die without adding to the long term gene pool.
No one seems to be sure why we have these invasion species who fly north to procreate for naught. We are fortunate to be blessed with their beauty, but will need to depend on their southern cousins to send more north next year, as these species cannot survive in our northern clime. This is one more reason they seem so special.
Maybe we could have a Fall Caterpillar Conference sometime. I know at least 8 people who would attend! :)