Aug 7, 2009

Pupating With Impunity

Part of my daily routine is to head out back after work and check on my tortoise and my vegetable garden. I have to do this in the bright afternoon sun, otherwise I'll end up walking through accursed orb weaver webs in the evening gloom. During summer season, when the orb weavers are everywhere, I dare not go outside at night without a broom leading the way.

But I've never had to contend with silk-spinning caterpillars as seen in the photos below. From what I've read, these tiny monsters swarm a bush or a tree, taking a couple of weeks to enclose it in silk, giving the caterpillars protection enough to devour the leaves and then pupate with impunity. It seems they aren't worth the calories, given all the effort it would take to work one's way through the sticky mess.

It's at times like these that I'll just take it easy and count my blessings that it's only orb weavers that I have to contend with. And black widows. And brown widows. And vampires.

Photo source: Kat


AAA said...

nitpick: Tent caterpillar silk (at least the one they use for their tenst) isn't sticky.

Joe Lapp said...

It's easy to get rid of a batch: just rip a hole in the side of the tent and you've created a wasp buffet.

I suspect you're just joking about the broom, but please be nice to spiders! Spiders have a finite amount of protein to turn into silk, and they can eat their failed webs to reuse the protein. If you have to wreck a web, try to take the web down on one side and drape it over whatever it is attached to on the other side. That way the spider stays on the side with the silk and can eat the web to reuse the protein.

jenjen said...

Eeeeugh, I just saw Mothra (1961) the other day - they couldn't even destroy her pupa with atomic heat blasters!

The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls said...

There are many days that I want to build a web around myself and hide inside. How smart is that.