Sunday, August 31, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For...

The other week I was bemoaning the fact that I had very few monarch butterfly larvae on my milkweed plants. I had only seen one and I figured that was it. Yesterday, I found one of my milkweeds pretty much stripped of leaves-not decimated because that would imply only one of 10 leaves eaten. Looking more closely I found 9 or 10 fat monarch larvae some of whom were really desperate acting and chomping down on the flowers.

larva eating flower

Well so now I have this superfluity of monarch larvae destroying their food source! I was mowing the lawn
, something that should have been done yesterday, when I noticed several branches on my ornamental cherry, which I had just planted this spring were stripped by these cute larvae. I am not sure what kind they are, and have a request for ran ID out in some of the insect forums I am on. Maybe some reader here knows about these guys.

W can not tell a lie...

I probably should spray, but I'm betting they pretty much grown so I don't think they will strip the whole tree. But they are making a good attempt at it as you can see here.

sawfly larvae having a group feed

Unlike the monarch larvae, these guys live in groups-vicious packs actually. When they are disturbed they have a characteristic pose: both front and read ends up. Kind of the insect equivalent of the Yoga exercise known as the bow.

sawfly larvae disturbed

There are, by the way, lots of group living larvae and here is an excellent overview with plenty of pictures. Unfortunately my "pack" is not shown.

At this rate I will never get my yard work done!
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