Monday, January 11, 2010

A problem for the passiflora

No, it's not an excess of Gulf Fritillary caterpillars, although there were several that I noticed on this section of passion vine at the arboretum. If you look closely, you'll see a few red mites around the caterpillar. An infestation of mites is attacking the plant.

When I found the first caterpillar, I relocated it to an uninfested section of the plant, but I soon realized that there were colonies of mites spread out all over the plant, and there is probably no part of it that will not be affected by them. Most of the other caterpillars were already doomed beneath a growing tent of mites, on leaves speckled with infestation.

The last time this happened, a few years ago, the whole vine died and it took about a year for it to come back.

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