Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Super Cool Cat(erpiggle)

Kimberly Writes: This spring, a friend gave me a flat of Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea). While I've grown many different plants over the years, this was a new one for me, and I was thrilled to have them, as they're hummingbird magnets!

I've tended them through a hot, dry summer, and they've rewarded me by doing their job, attracting hummingbirds like crazy. Yep, I expected the hummers, but I never thought of them as a host plant for caterpiggles. Not until THIS incredible creature appeared!

A few days ago, we were walking through our gardens with our friends Tiffanie and Delaney Hayes, and we paused to talk about our little patch of Cuphea. It was a total shock to look down and see this gorgeous caterpiggle munching away, and such a joy to share the discovery with our friends! 



A bit of searching turned up two of these big old cats. Kenn did some research and discovered that they're White-lined Sphinx moth caterpiggles. They've grown a lot the last few days, so I took a photo today with my hand in the shot for size reference.


Aren't they amazing?!?! Get outside and explore the natural world. You will never be disappointed!

4 comments:

  1. Why are you growing and spreading non-native plants instead of using more ecosystem-friendly native plants?

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    1. Thank you for your question. Of course, we should all plant native plants as much as possible, and we've spent thousands of dollars on and many-many hours planting native plants on our three acres. But we maintain that it's okay to plant a few nonnatives as long as they are NOT INVASIVE, especially if they provide great nectar sources for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Our small bed of cuphea is a perfect example. Gardeners should do serious research about the plants before they purchase and plant, and remember that you can't always trust those who work at plant nurseries to know what they're talking about.

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  2. That looks cool. Hummingbirds are neat to watch. Hello. My name is Steven Meyer. I have your insect guide which I really like. Ive been looking online at your nature guides to the Midwest and northeast. I live in the mid Atlantic and was wondering if you are coming out with anymore in the series.

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    1. Thanks so much, Steven. We're so happy you're enjoying the insect guide! And yes, we intend do do additional regional guides in the future.

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