By Nicole Hamilton
No, I’m not talking human body parts here — I’m talking butterflies (of course!) This past weekend I spied a caterpillar on a tree that “volunteered” to grow at the end of our driveway.
What do we do when we spot a new caterpillar? Drag out the caterpillar book of course and begin the investigation! I actually wasn’t sure what tree it was since it was so immature but as I compared caterpillar images to the one on our tree, I narrowed it down to either a Sulphur or a Snout.
Now, sulphurs use clovers and alfalfa and such as their host plant and this certainly was not a clover tree so I then looked further into the host plant for the American Snout.
As it turns out, they feed on the Hackberry tree and we just happen to have some of those growing in our yard, so it was plausible. After checking leaf images, I was sure it was an American Snout. The next day, the caterpillar had transformed into a chrysalis and after checking some images on that front, there was certainly no doubt.
In about 12 days, it will hatch out as a butterfly and go off to nectar on Clethra Sweet pepperbush, and other favorite nectar plants before beginning the cycle again.
Posting a few more photos in our facebook album showing the newly formed chrysalis as well as an adult so you can see this neat butterfly.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this one and watching for the emergence. Having a diversity of native plants and trees in your yard brings a host (pun intended) of wildlife into your life.