Yesterday, I posted about Aphis nerii aphids descending on a Hawaiian Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea). After they were gone the plant continued to do well for a day or two. Then holes started to appear in the leaves and arcs along the edges.
Closer examination revealed a couple of tiny Monarch Butterfly caterpillars munching their way around the leaves. The Crown Flower is a favorite host for these caterpillars, so this wasn’t a surprise. We were also keen to provide an area for the Monarchs to thrive in. So we let the caterpillars be and monitored the situation.
What happened, not surprisingly, is that the caterpillars grew quickly. As they did so, the leaves of the plant diminished accordingly. I was gone for my weekend, and when I returned, the caterpillars had more than doubled in size. The plant though looked like someone had gone at it with a machete. We wondered if the caterpillars would devour the whole thing before they pupated.
When I returned to work after another weekend, the caterpillars were gone. As the Crown Flower was food for the caterpillars, so it appeared, the caterpillars were food for the numerous birds in the area.
The plant will likely recover from its ravishing and, once it’s bigger, it might be better able to accommodate the attentions of these caterpillars and in turn provide more cover for them from the birds. Or not! I will monitor the situation.
Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (see more responses here).
I like hiking, as indicated by my last few posts, but I’m equally happy with a walk around the yard, at home or at work.
Recently, we planted a Hawaiian Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea) at work. This was a stick with two small leaves on top. The two leaves dried up and the stem turned brown. It looked doomed, but then new leaves popped out near the bottom and the plant took off. New leaves every day, steady growth.
Then one day these showed up, little yellow drops, like tiny lemon candies. Close examination revealed legs and heads. Aphids! I think these are Aphis nerii, otherwise known as the Oleander or Milkweed aphid. These little sap suckers can do a lot of damage so we hosed them off, though I doubt the ladybug in the bottom photo was best pleased since aphids are a tasty meal for them.
Still, with the aphids gone, the plant continued to thrive until … (to be continued)
Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here).
Recently, I posted (here) about a wasp I saw clambering through the grass. The reason I noticed the wasp was because I was down on my hands and knees taking photos of this creature. I think this is a Four-humped Stink Bug (Brochymena quadripustulata).
Like the wasp, the stink bug was going up and down blades of grass, though less frenetically than the wasp. After a while, it tired of my attentions and took off, flying directly towards my nose, a hard-to-miss target. I ducked out of the way and it whizzed by and disappeared.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Fleeting Moments.’ See more responses here.
The orange and black spiky thing is a Passion Vine Butterfly caterpillar, which I saw munching on a passion vine, as they do. The fly didn’t register with me until I processed the photos, but it was definitely a fleeting moment.
I noticed this wasp clambering through the grass one day recently. It made no attempt to fly, but didn’t seem damaged in any way. Its movements were a bit frenetic and, frankly, it looked a bit insane. So naturally, I got down on my hands and knees and shoved my camera into its face, taking photos!
I shoved enough that at one point the wasp climbed onto the lens and up onto the camera. At that point I decided discretion was the better part of photography, set my camera down in the grass, and waited for it to finish its exploration and stagger away, which it duly did.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Macro or Close-ups.’ See more responses here.
I saw this cricket climbing up the spadix of a white anthurium at Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. As it neared the top, I zoomed in for a close up. I haven’t been able to find out what kind of cricket it is (open to suggestions), but I was very taken by its extravagantly long antennae.
For more information about Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, go to htbg.com.
Updated 9-17-2022: Thanks to Forest and Kim Starr at Hawaii Insect ID for pointing out this is probably a cricket, though exactly which kind remains unknown.
Lesser Brown Scorpions (Isometrus maculatus) are small, shy, and mostly active at night. This is why I’d only seen two here before. One was dead in a box, flattened by the items I was unpacking. The other was alive, but not well. It looked like it had been stepped on.
These photos are of my third encounter, which happened recently. I was getting rid of accumulated odds and ends in the office at work, when I opened up a large, yellow bag that had been stowed there for a year or so. When I looked in, I saw this very much alive and active scorpion.
I took the bag outside, grabbing my camera on the way, and then tried getting some photos, with the help of others in the crew. It was hard to get anything decent because the scorpion scurried around seeking cover. We decided to tip it out onto the tiles. This made the process a bit easier, though not because the scorpion settled down any. It was just as active and every time I looked in the viewfinder it seemed to be making a beeline for me!
After a while I ushered it off the tiles and it scurried away, under the lanai. And while it looks imposing in these photos, it was less than two inches long overall. I’ve read that the sting of these scorpions is similar to a bee sting and not dangerous unless a person is allergic to the toxins. I didn’t feel a need to find out for myself.