On Friday morning, I noticed a tiny green caterpillar crawling up the stem of a plant in our back yard. Saturday afternoon, my son and I went outside to see what the caterpillar was up to and found it spinning around on a thread, building some kind of nest. Sunday morning, when we went out to check on the progress, the caterpillar had completely enclosed itself inside a silky home underneath a leaf. At first, we thought the caterpillar was building a chrysalis, but the white sac it built around itself doesn’t look at all like one. I read that a caterpillar larvae can go through several stages of growth. The larvae rests between growth periods by building itself a silk home underneath a leaf. Perhaps that is what this white sac is?
After much research, I’ve decided this caterpillar is either a California Oakworm, which makes sense, since we have three oak trees covering our back yard or, more likely from how it looks, a Fruittree Leafroller . As much as we were hoping this little guy would one day become a beautiful butterfly, it’s clear now that it is merely a pesky moth. I understand these little guys aren’t anything to be too concerned about, as they are usually taken care of naturally by predators before they become an infestation. With the huge number of birds visiting our yard each day, I suspect this caterpillar won’t last long. However, if any of you out there are experts on this subject and believe these moths to be a threat to our oak trees, please let me know.
In the meantime, we’re going to enjoy watching the changes this tiny creature may go through… from one stage of larvae to the next, and, later, if it doesn’t become bird food first, from caterpillar to moth.
Photos taken April 14th and 15th, 2013
WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Change