|Carolina wren with caterpillar|
Well, it’s a bird on a caterpillar actually.
|Caterpillar poop. Different colors - neat!|
This week I saw another reminder that caterpillars exist for a reason, and that nature in balance tries to stay in balance. I had noticed green caterpillars on my cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) earlier this week (who could miss those piles of poop?). They looked similar to caterpillars I’d seen on my goldenrod (Solidago).
But I figured I would not bother them because I have plenty of Lobelia and could afford to share. Besides, a green anole lizard was lurking nearby and I hoped he’d have one for a snack.
Then two wrens noticed the caterpillars and they swooped in for a mini-feast. They ate about 6 of them, giving me plenty of time to grab my camera and take pictures from inside the house. I watched them hop up to the Lobelia, search for one, grab it and then bring it back down to the ground to wrestle it around a bit and eat it.
|Shaking it around a bit|
|Which part to eat first?|
Looking around on the web (where it is surprisingly easy to search for pictures of “green caterpillar” and get a bunch of pictures to peruse), I decided it is some type of “looper” caterpillar, perhaps Chrysodeixis chalcites. Loopers are named for the loops they make while moving around and are actually spread among a number of genera.
|Looper on the Lobelia|
So if you find caterpillars, be not discouraged – in fact, be happy! Some hungry birds are sure to come along and help you out.