Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Caterpillars

Last year and this we've had caterpillars in some of our trees. Of course the kids insisted we catch one and put it in a jar for observation purposes. I've been rather suspicious all along that these were not friendly, cute caterpillars that would some day turn into beautiful butterflies, but the kids don't care.

Since we're in a rather low point as far as actual schooling goes, I figured we might as well make use of the academic value of caterpillar observation. First things first, we needed to figure out what kind of caterpillar we have. Fortunately there is a web page for everything and we discovered What's This Caterpillar?, a British site with a section on North America caterpillars (I linked you to the North American section, by the way). After a discussion on whether we were dealing with a hairy, spiny, bristly or tufted critter, we moved on a figured out without too much difficulty that we were looking at an Eastern Tent Caterpillar, which as I suspected was not one of the cute caterpillars and not really one I like to have eating my trees. However, it is strengthening my suspicion that the trees out back are an ornamental non-fruit bearing fruit tree.

Once we finish learning about caterpillars, perhaps we'll use this site and move on to tree identification.

2 comments:

Sarah G. said...

Better stay away from my house. Those are exactly the caterpillars that I vacuum out of the trees.
I detest them. I remember as a child living on a dirt road during a particularly massive infestation. It was so bad that acres of trees were denuded and if you went outside you needed an umbrella for all the droppings and/or caterpillars falling from the trees. Ugh.

Frazier said...

And the moths are ugly too. Get Sarah out there with her vacuum.

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