Sunday, September 06, 2009

A Caterpillar eating a Milkweed Leaf

Today I did a visit and inspection of all the Canker resistant butternut trees in the woodlot. All but 2 are found and accounted for. Of the remaining 8, two are dead. The cause does not appear to be the disease but rather trampling by wildlife, or poor soil conditions. All will be reported on their respective blogs. On my way out I came across this very interesting looking caterpillar. I immediately associated it with the monarch butterfly which also eats milkweed, however it turns out that the monarch feeds on the milkweed when it is still young, and besides I have not seen any monarch butterflies around.

It turns out to be the Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar [Euchaetes egle], the caterpillar for the Tussock Moth a.k.a the Milkweed Tiger Moth. This caterpillar feeds on older milkweed plants and indeed this is approaching the end of our vigourous growing season.

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