Mar 28, 2011

Update on the larvae

Finally, I was successful (well, not completely, but I’ve never come this far ever) in following a larva’s growth.

The orange one with spines and tentacles grew into a beauty, with lovely white and black stripes and looked healthy. 
The tiny guy that I picked off the Adenium bud was not to be seen, but the next day, I found him grown to about one and half or so inches long 
and looking good. 
A bit of googling told me that it could be Oleander Hawk Moth – let’s see…
(Damn! This guy has almost destroyed the plant in just two days!)
The orange spiny looked well the next day too
But the next day, I found him like this.

It didn’t look right to me, but I didn’t want to disturb and left it like so. Later that evening I found it in the same position. I was afraid that he might have already breathed out his last breath. I nudged him with a leaf – nothing happened. No resistance or movement of any sort… Oh My God! That was bad, as I prayed that it be a Gulf Fritillary that I’ve spotted in my neighborhood. [SIGH] So that’s the end of it… 

But the green one is growing well and today morning he chomped off my Adenium plant completely. I never forecasted that he’d have such a huge appetite! 
I transferred him to the Oleander and when I drove back home for lunch, I rushed upstairs to check on him and the hungry rascal climbed to the top of the plant, happily perching over the Oleander buds. Now, that’s no good, yes, I want him to grow but not at the expense of losing my dear Oleander.
 (Looks like an alien, doesn't he?)
I plan to put him in a pot full of oleander leaves. Hope he likes it and that way my Oleander would be away from peril too.
I will keep you all posted about his growth. I pray my dear Adenium sprouts leaves. It’s a gift from my dear friend and I don’t want to lose it!!!


tina said...

I am really enjoying watching your caterpillars grow. They are so different and scary looking yet you make them beautiful with your photos and words. I think the first one may be getting ready to make its chrysalis. Watch and see and do please let us know!

Rose said...

Amazing photos; the green one does indeed look like an alien from outer space. As I said last time, he reminds me of our tomato hornworms which can strip a tomato plant in a day. I probably wouldn't be as kind-hearted to him as you are, Chandramouli, but putting him in his own pot with some leaves sounds like a good solution. Otherwise, he might eat everything in sight!

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

That green one really does seem to have a big appetite. I hope you get to see it become whatever it's going to turn into.

Ginny said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. Your blog is very lovely! I chose to come to this blog because I love plants and wildlife and am not involved in knitting. You are a great photographer!!! Your pictures are beautiful, especially the dragonfly from awhile back.

Anonymous said...

You've got amazing photos of the green bug! Not something I have seen here! The first caterpillar looks like the one of the Common Crow butterfly. I've never had any bug on my adenium. Maybe because its growth isn't good enough. It'll be interesting to see what your bugs turn into.

greggo said...

Like the tomato hornworm. thanks for visiting my blog.

Skeeter said...

!Lucky you to witness such a spectacle of life. I was lucky to catch caterpillars on the Dill but they ate and took off the next day! Your pictures are great and expose the beauty of such strange looking creatures! Will be interesting to see if you can catch them in their next stage of life…

Anonymous said...

Chandramouli, that's one of the main points of butterfly gardening. You have to be willing to sacrifice some foliage in order the nourish the caterpillar! It will be worth it, I swear.

Christine B. said...

Full disclosure: those caterpillars freak me out about as much as clowns. Maybe it's all the pointy bits or maybe the eye spots, I'm not sure.

If my kids would have found those caterpillars, they would have become their latest insect pets, which pretty much means the kiss of death.

Christine in Alaska, no caterpillars yet

Chandramouli S said...

Thank you, Tina :) I found these caterpillars creepy at first but I told myself that someday these would turn to beautiful adults and that helped me ease away my fears.

The green one is an Oleander Hawk Moth's larvae and god does that guy have a herculean appetite!! He rendered my Adenium bald!!!

Catherine: That green one is a hungry chap who never seems to get satisfied! LOL.

Ginny: My pleasure. I liked visiting your blog. Thank you for your kind comments :) Hope you enjoyed your stay.

Kanak: The first one died unfortunately due to unknown reasons and the second one is Oleander Hawk Moth.

Greg: My pleasure, Greg. :) It's Oleander Hawk Moth.

Skeeter: Yes, it was fun following the caterpillar every day! Unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to see it's next stage. The green one is out - hope it turned to a beautiful moth.

Said true, Robin. It definitely was worth, but I was worried about losing the Adenium as it was a gift. Luckily the bare branches have started sprouting.

Christine: They freaked me out too, at first, but as I said, the thought of them turning into butterfly/moth someday eased the fear. To reveal a secret to you, I was having dreams of caterpillars crawling for the next two days!!! Yes, they do freak me out.

noel said...


i'm not too fond of caterpillars...they are extremely hungry with mostly the few plants that i tend to baby and the rest of the typical, they couldn't care less.

Randy Emmitt said...


How did I miss this. I'd bet Kanak is right on the spikey cat. Enjoyed these photos, not seen any cats this year so far. Meg found a tiny lightning bug in the bedroom this morning!

walk2write said...

Those are some amazing photos, Chandramouli! Good for you to let them live. I've noticed that since I've started taking pics of the little rascals and trying to learn more about them, I'm much more likely to let them have their fill of whatever they're chomping on. I'm sorry to say that I used to pick them off and send them on to the hereafter without regret.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Great Caterpillar photos, have they turned into butterflies yet?

Thanks for your tip on Microsoft's Live Writer for my blog.

Sunita said...

Great post, Chandramouli. That Hawk Moth does have a great appetite, doesn't he? I hope he is properly appreciative of your kindness when he is fully grown!
The caterpillar in the first pcture is a Common Crow. I keep seeing a lot of them in my garden too. Its a pity he didn't metamorphose into a chrysalis. Those are really pretty! .. they look like a shiny, metallic gold case.

p3chandan said...

Im very squemish of caterpillars, ugly looking monsters to me! Look at that green really grew so big so fast! If you let them, they will chomp through a lot of your lovely foliage!

Anonymous said...

Hello Chandramouli! I think they are both very beautiful caterpillars. It's a shame the first did not survive, but I'm hoping your second one does and that we get to see the beauty that emerges too!

Chandramouli S said...

Oh yea, noel: That second was was really hungry and literally rendered my Adenium bald!!!

Randy: Lightning bug in the bedroom?!!! I'd have freaked out! :D

W2W: Thank you :) I started doing the same.

Iowa Gardening Woman: Thank you. The orange spikey died and the green one escaped my garden. I hope that fellow is now flying somewhere.

Sunite: Oh yea, he did eat up my Adenium and Oleander buds and is nowhere to be seen next day! I hope he did transform to a beautiful moth. Unfortunately the Common Crow larvae died.

p3chandan: Hi-Fi on that. I had nasty dreams about them for few days after I started nurturing them everyday.

gippslandgardener: True. I was fascinated by their bright colors, but I still find them a lil' creepy. The second one escaped Plantville :(

Jan@Thanks for today. said...

I have found it exciting to watch the caterpillars morph into chrysalis/pupa form and then into butterflies. I hope this one will make it!