Friday, August 03, 2007

What's eating my Christmas cactus?

I saw these little droppings on my porch and I thought I had termites.

There were some fresher looking ones in my Christmas cactus. I used a broom handle to probe the ceiling of the porch. No droppings fell, and nothing looked termite-damaged.

Further inspection of the cactus revealed something was damaging it.

I found a couple of these small larvae. They wiggled and flailed themselves excessively when I tried to collect them. I actually stepped on one of them by accident before I had a chance to take a picture. After a bit of wrangling, I managed to take a picture of this one, then I went to prepare a container to keep it in, the better to observe its metamorphosis. By the time I got back with a little jar a few moments later, the larva had flipped itself onto the tile, only I didn't realize that until after I'd stepped on it. Dang! So I don't know what they would have turned into. And my plant no longer seems to be infested.

Not bug-related, but still Christmas cactus related: Usually this plant only blooms in late fall/early winter, but I had a few renegade flowers that bloomed in the spring. One of them actually set fruit. First time I've ever seen that on this plant.
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