Spring is in full bloom, along with wonderful light, but I've been so busy with my book that I haven't had much opportunity to take my camera out to shoot anything. That changed suddenly yesterday, when I went out into the back yard to check on the beagles. That's when I noticed something had made a nice meal of a bunch of leaves on my grape vines. I've got several grape vines growing along the kennel fence--including muscadines--all of which are supposed to be generally pest free. So I looked a little closer and discovered these little fellows hiding under the leaves:
Now, we get quite a few caterpillars at out house, because of all the passion vines I like to grow. But I've never seen this type before, and in the eight-plus years we've lived here, I've never seen anything munch on the grape vines. So I rushed into the house, grabbed my camera and macro lens, and spent the next 20 or so minutes contorting this way and that to get some good closeup shots of these interesting, white-and-black-and-orange caterpillars. Turns out they are likely the juvenile form of the Eight-Spotted Forester moth--a fairly pretty moth, actually--but one whose young likes to munch on grape vines.
Fortunately, the damage doesn't appear too extensive, and they show no sign of going after the young fruit, only the leaves. I'll keep an eye on them and come up with some sort of relocation plan if their population explodes. To be honest, I'm glad they paid me a visit. It gave me an excuse to play with macro photography, and I always love photographing caterpillars. They look like creatures from an alien world to me. They're beautiful, and someday I hope to do a whole series of prints featuring the different species I've shot. I'll leave you now with one final image, not of the Eight-Spotted Foresters, but one of many Gulf Fritillary caterpillars currently gorging themselves on my passion vines. This one's treating a blue caerulea passion flower as its own personal buffet. I think the colors are otherworldly. Enjoy!
Lisa On Location Photography