Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Over the weekend, it was finally time to cut down the remnants of our garden, including our delicious and highly productive cherry tomato plants. Amidst the clipping, I discovered one of these very large and very green caterpillars on the soil. I had wondered if it was an invasive, since it almost looks tropical with its bright colors, vivid patterns, and large size (fat as my fingers and a few inches long) -- but a quick google search showed that its a native to North America, and one of our largest caterpillars, the tobacco (or tomato) hornworm.
To my delight, as I moved to the next plant, I found a handful of these guys munching on our little green tomatoes.
In addition to their cute little red tail spikes, I really like the false eyes on their face -- it really looks like a bright eye, but upon closer inspection, it very much appeared to just be an evolutionarily creative spot.
For a sense of scale, here's a shot of me holding one on a branch that I rescued from the compost bin:
It was fun to find these guys late in the season, but I suppose I'd be a tad disappointed if they had showed up earlier and eaten all of our tomatoes!