Sunday, May 24, 2015

Some Black Cherry Diversity

A year or two ago I planted a Black Cherry tree, Prunus serotina. It has yet to flower and is only 5' tall but already it's attracting quite a bit of life.

I've actually read that these trees tend to be more popular with "pests" at this sage because trees of this size tend to be newer, representing the forest edge as it advances into meadow land. The lack of flowers means a lack of berries which are relished by birds. Adult trees of a flowering age get more bird attention because of the berries which perhaps makes young trees more tempting to certain bug species.

Another thought though is this might all be subjective observation. Younger trees still have their lower branches in tact and older trees form most of the new growth at the top, well out of view from the average person. Since caterpillars tend to target young growth more it could just be that we're not seeing it because it's up so high.

Sadly I'm not sure what species this is. There are so many green caterpillars to choose from but tentatively I'm calling this a Distinct Quaker, Achatia distincta. But it might also be a young instar to a Copper Underwing.

Some sort of leaf miner has infested a leaf or two. Without the sun back lighting this leaf it really just looks like the leaf dried out.

Here's another caterpillar that's not quite far enough along for me to ID. Looks kind of worm-ish so and I'm sure that stripe under the body is telling especially with the color but I just don't have the time to figure out what later instars will be.

There's a few scale insects on the stems too. These are attracting in ants which are probably why I'm not finding more caterpillars on it.