Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Silver-spotted Skipper Caterpillar on False Indigo Bush

I found the tent to a Silver-spotted Skipper, Epargyreus clarus, on the False Indigo Bush, Amorpha fruticosa, today. I'd planted the sapling last fall as a nitrogen-fixing shrub/small tree right next to the vegetable garden. Their leaves decompose as a natural fertilizer and their roots enrich the soil somewhat. Though spraying Miracle Grow is certainly more effective.

Inside the little tent (or shed as it's called for reasons that escape me) I found the little caterpillar tucked away. They hang out here and feed at night so they're less likely to be eaten by birds.

Unfortunately when I tore it open initially I'd expected to find a spider. Oops. So the little guy jumped ship after I left. I tried putting the leaves back over it but he didn't repair it at all. 

So this had me thinking I should inspect some of my other plants for caterpillars, such as Wild Senna, which they also might use. Sadly I didn't find anything else but this one caterpillar. It's great that this sapling got me success on the first years though. I'm still debating if I should prune it into a shrub or a small tree.