Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My next caterpillar project:

Ever since I first photographed this butterfly at the arboretum, I have been on a mission to find out where and when it lays its eggs, so I can see the caterpillars. Here is where my lack of botanical education slows me down. I knew that the host plant is cassia. I knew that the plant had small leaves and bright yellow flowers. What I didn't know was how to tell a cassia from so many other plants that had small leaves and bright yellow flowers. (a problem further complicated by a lack of identification tags on many plants in the arboretum.)

Recently, after noticing lots of the sulphurs flying around, I asked Chris, the plant curator, which plants were the host for their caterpillars. He said senna. So I found the senna plants, and started "watching" them. Finally, the other day I found some tiny caterpillars.

I took these pictures, and planned to collect them this morning, but our windstorms seem to have blown them away!

Fortunately, I did find a few bright yellow eggs today. I collected them, and will set up a little container with a sprig of senna for when they hatch.
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