country life, insects, nature, photography, Uncategorized

The Very Hungry Caterpillar


A few nights ago, we found this fat and sassy caterpillar happily munching on our tomatoes.  It was quickly apprehended and now lives in Wyokiddo’s bug jar.  At least for another day or two.

After some research, I discovered it is a tomato hornworm, so named because of it’s penchant for devouring tomatoes and the little horn-like appendage on it’s tail.  After it pupates, this caterpillar will turn into a Sphinx moth.  Google also told me this probably wasn’t the only caterpillar we had in our garden…where there’s one there’s probably 10 or 20.  Sure enough, on subsequent trips to the garden, we another 15 or so of the chubby green menaces.

As Wyokiddo stared at one mowing down my plants, she said “Mama, it looks just like the very hungry caterpillar in my books!”

It really did resemble the star of the Eric Carle books.  But this caterpillar won’t get a chance to eat through oranges, apples, pears, salami, cheese, pickles or an ice cream cone, and neither will his brethren.  You don’t mess with my tomatoes and live to tell the tale.



insects, nature, photography, Uncategorized

Mantis Mayhem

Praying Mantis Final-3 CRThis is my contribution to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Fun!

I’m no entomologist, but I am developing a certain affinity for bugs.  Especially bugs that eat other bugs, like this mantis.  Outdoor Guy found him in our yard this morning, so Wyokiddo and I took a break from a morning of puzzles and coloring to head outside for an inspection.

Most people call this a praying mantis, but I’ve been told that is a general description, not an actual species.  This is probably a Carolina mantis, and a juvenile at that.  I’d never seen a white mantis, so I did some research.  Mantises molt up to 10 times as they grow into an adult, and after they molt, are white for a time.  This poor guy just finished molting and then was accosted by a 4-year old with a stick and housewife with a camera.

Probably not his best day, but an awesome find for me and my daughter.  We spent part of our morning watching him climb sticks, groom himself and even assume a fighting stance with provoked.  Sometimes, you gotta leave your breakfast on the table and go have some fun with a bug!


country living, insects, photography


Praying MantisTonight was another creature first for me – a praying mantis!  This beauty was climbing its way across the potted flowers along our driveway.

I’ve since learned they are more accurately called mantids and that there are more than 2,400 species of mantid, praying or otherwise.  They have compound eyes that are spread wide across their head to give them a wider field of vision.  The dark spot on each eye is a psedudopupil, which really isn’t a pupil at all, but an optical phenomena.

Praying mantids are highly predacious and feed on a variety of insects, including moths, crickets, grasshoppers and flies. They intently watch and stalk their prey. They will eat each other.

It’s a mantid eat mantid world out there.  Be careful, folks!