Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our Garden Dwellers

I am not good in shooting critters, which One of Onenezz is so good at. I am thrilled with her collages of dragonflies and butterflies in Tropical Nature Photos. There's a lot of critters too in our garden. I have tried many times to take their photos, but am always drawn to chase the butterflies. When butterflies are around, I forget the rest. However, this time I am fascinated by the works of some critters, mainly because they fully consumed many of our plants.

This big larva devoured all the leaves of a big periwinkle plant, which died eventually. I realized this plant is not so resistant to larvae's attacks. Some plants just produce more shoots again after the onslaught of larvae.

 This larva looks almost the same as the above, but it feasted on the chrysanthemum.

This young larva attacked the caladium, which together with another bigger larva finished 5 big leaves overnight.

YAICKS! Grrrr! Another one on the green caladium!

He looks so cute, with those beautiful "eyes" (sorry for the blurr, i dont have a better shot)

I got it from the caladium to pose for me with the help of my niece. I taught her to touch the larva without being scared. However, whenever it moves she made a loud shriek. Eventually, after a lot of caresses, she got so enamored with it that when the chickens came, she shooed them away or else they will easily have a piece of snack.

Some of the devoured caladium leaves courtesy of the cute brownish larva. It camouflaged itself near the petiole when the sun is already up.

The Colocasia above is an accomplishment of another larva, this time a black one (below)

It is so long but beautiful too! Can you see the two "antennae'' at its posterior tip. I don't know its name.

A hairy monster eating the Chrysothemis pulchelia, a few days later 3 plants were bald.

I believe this is the swallowtail larva, mimicking bird droppings when still at this stage. Eventually it will be a big green caterpillar too before it pupates. It might not however hide from the birds frequently seen above them. This plant is a species of citrus with very nice scent, but it doesn't produce fruits like the common citrus we know. It however is medicinal.

These okra plants succumbed to a lot of larvae which after eating the leaves make them as their blankets. Eventually, molds will grow from their excretions and the okra will die. 

This time i don't know if these ants are helpful to the plant. What i know is they make harvesting of the custard apple fruit very difficult. 

Now, i know this praying mantis might be helpful. However, its stance is a reply to my prodding so it will pose nicely for me! I don't know if this is the Chinese species which Randy Emitt beautifully photographed in his blogsite.

And these are the last enemies of our plants. The cats (we have 6), play hide and seek in the garden. In this photo they are in the amaryllis hedge. The dog is a little subtle, but it loves to rest and sleep there near some plants. I did not include here yet some chickens and the young goat kids.

Maybe you are thinking that our plants will not be able to grow well with these creatures plaguing them. But we still have lots of plants, so we still see the flowers and the fruits of those which survived their natural ordeals. Everyone is happy!

Some of our other unwholesome garden guests:

Camera Critters

Camera Critters


  1. Those are some incredible photos. You really got some wonderful shots.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. What a fun post! Your caterpillars in photos #2-7 look like sphinx moths (also known as hawk moths or hummingbird moths), big beautiful nocturnal moths with long tongues that do a good job of pollinating flowers with deep throats. There are many kinds of sphinx moths, which explains the variation in your caterpillars.

    Of course your plants continue to grow--you're in the tropics--it's warm and it rains. Your big problem is keeping them from overgrowing your home.

    And in the middle of the worst drought year in Texas history, I envy you.

  3. You got some great shots there, Andrea! I liked several of the pictures of the teeny tiny critters. The cat and dog pictures are wonderful too.

  4. A really great post Andrea! Wonderful to see so many different species in your garden. Their appetite is about like my teenage son. He devours groceries about like the critters in your pictures. Ha Ha!

  5. Kathleen Scott - thank you very much for telling me they are hawk moths or sphinx moths. I have the feeling they are moth's larvae as they somehow rest during the day, although i thought they just went underside because of the bright sun. Yes we have many hawk moths here. After reading your comment i immediately read Wikipedia, learned they pollinate orchids too. Now, i am wondering which of our orchids they visit at night. Thanks again for the lead.

    Haha, yes you're right, our problem is keeping them from overgrowing our home!

    I hope some of our spillover rains migrate to your area in Texas.

  6. Cher of Sunray Gardens - thank you for the appreciation and visit.

    Linda - thanks for the visit. I thought you are on vacation as you seem to be not posting lately, or maybe too engrossed with your new photo sessions and album making!

    Pumpkydine - you really made me laugh there, and the counterpart here is my 13 yr old nephew. They can really have endless feeding frenzies! Thanks for coming over.

  7. Andrea,

    I think you right on the swallowtail cat, the plant itself might help with the ID. The mantis is not a Chinese, you might have them there too. I have heard of a mantis here in the US likely not from here that has a spot on the wings like yours.

  8. Hi Andrea, You have taken really taken excellent shots of caterpillars this time. How did you manage to get such clear close ups? Their eyes are very attractive.

    Thank you for the shout out. I haven't been seeing caterpillars lately. So, there would be no kiasu post from me. :)

  9. Randy - thanks for the information, i will be searching what this praying mantis is called. I haven't given them much attention until you posted a fascinating mantis stance with the word 'Chinese'. Yes i am sure of the swallowtail larva because we have a few species of them here. We have many species of citrus fruits where they can oviposit.

    One - things which are around most of the time, tend to get neglected, but yours and others' blogs inspired me to photograph them too. Do you know that they are not really eyes? Those are just defense mechanisms to scare predators. When you touch or scare them those 'eyes' show up. In my case i tickle it with my finger tip!

  10. Very nice captures, Andrea! Me, I can deal with critters as long as there is no spider. Haha!

  11. Wow! Nice nod to One. She does have some excellent closeups and so do you!! Those catepillars are beautiful. You have some sphinx moths that eat everything up, but they don't kill the plant....just make it look terrible for awhile. They love our citrus trees here.

  12. Those are wonderful shots Andrea. It always seems awful that they can devour so much of our plant life, but they do become beautiful flying critters.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  13. Feeding Frenzy, indeed!! Lots of different looking little nibblers.

  14. Wow! These are some gorgeous larvae even though they're attacking your plants. The ants? Ugh!

  15. What an outstanding post! You did a great job at capturing all the critters! Sorry about your garden, but I do love all those critters!

  16. Bom - if you live in the province and adventurous when young like me, you get your share of all the stings and bites, i experienced all of them, but till now i am still scared of larvae. I can always touch it slightly but cannot let it on my palm.

    Chris - some plants are also killed just like the periwinkle and the chrysanthemum.

    Flowerlady - have a wonderful weekend to you too. For me the hawk moth are lovelier when larvae than when adults.

    Dorothy - and we still have a lot of nibblers not yet in the pictures.

    Cheryl - thanks for visiting, yes those ants are not very lovable.

    Misty Dawn - thanks for your appreciation of my critters, and thanks for hosting that meme. I will try to link again next time.

  17. Fantastic photos Andrea. Those big eye caterpillars are gorgeous and the hairy one and the black one too. You have an army of them but look at the bright side; you will have many butterflies to photograph.
    Your kitties and dog are sweet and they like shade too

  18. I like the 4th photo.
    Lovely collage with photos of your cute cats and dog.

    Regards and best wishes

  19. Andrea, you have some wonderfully coloured insects in your garden, I suppose because you live in the tropics? Much better than our boring UK stuff

  20. Beautiful shots of the critters, so interesting to see them like that - thank you!

  21. Cool closeips of the caterpillars. I love the cute doggie and the kitties too. A great critter post.

  22. Andrea, I love this post! I like it when you post about the natural inhabitants, the bugs and the pets which brings back a lot of wonderful memories of my kampung.

    I like the part about your niece and brown caterpillar. It looks like being in the 'monster' stance for protection when disturbed, with its big bright eyes but I think it looked more cute than scary, hehehe.

  23. Very cute critters.

    My critter post, have a wonderful weekend!

  24. Andrea, you even have prettier caterpillars there. Great closeups of them. I like the ones with the big eyes the most. Glad they are not here munching the plants though.

  25. i'm not fond of those caterpillars Andrea. they are big eaters, leaving an unpleasant sight and they poop a lot too in my garden. lovely shots of the cats and dog.

  26. Your pictures are great Mam! In the 4th and 5th photos, the critters look like anime cartoon characters! haha! :)

  27. Andrea - Never seen a caterpillar with "eyes". It's quite an achievement to cure your niece of her fear of creepy-crawlies.

  28. Wonderful captures of quite an impressive collection of caterpillars Andrea! That little guy that looks like bird droppings is a Swallowtail I would say. I wonder what the butterflies will be from the others. To answer your question . . . the Monarchs in my gardens were unknown to me. They may have emerged in the gardens or just passing by on their way to Mexico. I do still have three chrysalis hanging inside . . . I will be happy and sad to see the last fly away. Great post!

  29. stunning photos! beautiful creatures

  30. I wonder how these caterpillars look like after they transform to butterflies (or months?). Maybe you and/or One could post a "before and after" entry.

  31. I am very impressed by the comment tun-out of this post, maybe i will post something like this again.

    Maia - thanks for dropping by. Those eyes are really just design to scare predators, larvae don't have real eyes.

    Tatjana - the cats and dogs are sometimes nuisance too, especially if they rested on your newly planted plants. LOL

    Phil - even if i am bored with them too sometimes, i still can't afford to kill the destructive larvae. I just let the chicken find them. Yes sometimes i find the vegetation of temperate climes monotonous, the forest areas look the same! But your flowers are awesome.

    klaraau - they are beautiful if not so plenty, i am glad we have their predators too.

    eileeninmd - i appreciate your visit and nice comments. thanks.

    Autumn Belle - i can imagine how your 'kampung' looks like, you can very well say that our area in the province is just like a kampung, where relatives are just nearby and you can do whatever you like in your property.

    Chubskulit - thanks!

    Donna of GWGT - i love those eyes too, now that many loves them i will try to look for them again on my next visit home. thank you.

  32. Life Ramblings - i just don't like them, I am scared of them too! haha.

    Svinden - i hope you come again next time.

    Kingdom - you seem to be very respectful in this site, unlike in the forum where your group behaves so differently!

    b-a-g --- those eyes are just decoys to scare predators, only some design which becomes bigger when they are threatened. You are right, teaching my niece not to be scared like me is achievement enough, and seeing them being kind of these critters is something to be thanked for!

    Carol - you already know I have some envy in most of your achievements as an artist, most especially your awesome photos, add to that the time to culture those butterflies from eggs. But i know each one of us has plusses and minusses, privileges and lacks, but that's what life is! I just also dont know why of the many bloggers i seem to have those feelings with you! Maybe that's what they call 'love transcends beyond culture', or beyond sight! I want you to laugh this time, not shed a tear!

    Andrea, my namesake - thanks for dropping by!

    Solitude Rising - yes, now that i know what these caterpillars become (courtesy of Kathleen Scott), i will look for the adults and try to get a 'kiasu' post for you and One! haha!

  33. I love the last collage... the cats and dog are so adorable. And the larvaes... haha... they are big eaters! Have a wonderful week Andrea. I hope you will see lots of beautiful blooms :-D

  34. Wonderful critters and creatures! Those caterpillars are awesome with their fabulous markings. (Too bad for your plants, though!)

  35. It is hard seeing our plants being eaten up so. A few years ago, I had some nice folks on a garden site reassure me the plants would regrow, so I learned to tolerate caterpillars eating on them. I even plant extra parsley, rue, milkweed, and some other plants for them. I'm sorry some of your plants didn't make it.

  36. I just love when the good critters come to live in my garden!

  37. god job on the photos on the snail and other crawling things...I couldn't get a picture of those since I immediately squish them out of my plants...I have a similar problem with a caterpillar munching on my aglaonema's


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