Monday, February 27, 2012

Oldfield Mystery

Animal or plant?- Click to enlarge
Our friend Georgia sent me this picture from her picnic table in Oldfield.  As a game of Stump the Master Naturalist, it was like going one-on-one with Jeremy Lin, not much of a contest.  I was pretty sure it wasn't mineral but beyond that I was out of my depth.

Chris Barnhart to the rescue!
"It’s a Crowned Slug Caterpillar, Isa textula.  The whole family Limacodidae has the most amazing caterpillars.  It would be great if we could raise some of these for the Butterfly House - they feed on oak."
Adult Moth- UGA 1430099
This dramatic larva becomes a rather generic looking moth, the Crowned Slug Moth or Skiff Moth, Isa textula.  The caterpillar feeds on trees such as oak, cherry, maple, and elm.  Don't let the soft fluffy appearance fool you.  Just like many other caterpillars, these are stinging spines and hairs, so if you plan to bring one to the Butterfly House, use a no-touch technique.

"First Butterfly of 2012"- Kevin Firth
Butterfly season will be upon us soon.  We are already seeing more butterflies of winter such as the Goatweed Leafwings which spend the cold nights as adults, tucked under loose tree bark.  Like some of us, Kevin Firth's Mourning Cloak to the right seemed to enjoy flitting about on a warm day.

Also warming up are the plans for the Bill Roston Butterfly House this year. If you are interested in helping out, a volunteer orientation session is scheduled for April 18th, 5:30 or April 21st, 9:30. Contact number is the Botanical Center, 417-891-1515.

1 comment:

  1. I got MY first butterfly of 2012 on last Thursday, February 23, down here in Booger (Douglas) County. Like Kevin's, it was a Mourning cloak. Haven't seen anything since, though.