|Caterpillar in a folded leaf|
SST are common along Bull Creek where we have lots of spicebush in the valley and wooded hillsides. Up in the forest where we also have loads of their alternate host plant, sassafras. This female must have been on the prowl away from the Nature Center a mile away. This proves once again that "plant it and they will come."
|This early instar was hidden in the fold.|
Not every folded leaf will have a caterpillar. Another leaf on the plant held a common earwig, Forficula auricularia. This European native first hit North America in 1907. Like many invasive species it has its good and bad sides. It is an omnivore that can eat flowers and fruit crops and cause leaf damage. On the good side, they have been shown to feed on various pests such as aphids, scale insects, psyllids, and midges, and likely would be happy to eat a SST caterpillar.
|Hanging by a thread - Chris Barnhart|
*We get some of our native plants from David and Jenny Middleton at OzarkSoul.com.
Visit the Bill Roston Butterfly House at the Springfield Botanical Gardens where you may get to see SST on the wing.