Yes, my insect identification books came in the mail and I've been flipping through the pages, marveling at all the amazing caterpillars that are apparently chomping happily through the vegetation right under my nose. (How do people learn to see these things?) Here are a few things I've learned:
This guy is not a butterfly at all, but a day-flying moth. An Eight-spotted Forester (Alypia octomaculata) to be exact.Do you remember my little experiment with feeding the caterpillar many posts ago? Well, the caterpillar was languishing in the makeshift home I gave him, despite fresh walnut leaves everyday. I set him free rather than have him go the way of my childhood experiments--moldy messes of food-colored concoctions. But, I believe I've identified him as a Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae). And it is no wonder the birds didn't eat him--those little hairs can cause rashes and itching. Speaking of tussock moths, check out the cleverly named White Marked Tussock Moth caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma) I found on the screen door to the cabin just this evening.
And then there is the Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva punctella)
And the Painted Lichen Moth (Hypopepia fucosa)It is endless, folks. So many pretty things right in front of me. I'll leave you with some images from my walk in the back pasture this morning. The light was gorgeous and the spider webs were sparkling. The thistle was blooming and the butterflies were warming up for one more day of nectaring. That's what I want to have always--just one more day of nectaring.