Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Army Worms turning into Navy Worms

Army worm crossing water

Army worm climbing nardoo stem
Army worms have begun to eat the nardoo water fern in the wetland habitat. They're fearless little critters that seem to walk on water. The azola fern helps them by behaving like little rafts that can be reached for with half the caterpillar's body length lying on the water. I haven't seen one drown yet.

It has taken me a long time to figure out how they even got into the bath and why I never saw any small size caterpillars, for that's what they are in reality, moth caterpillars. But all is discovered. They climb up grass stems leaning against the bath.

The nardoo fern looks much the worse for wear. Most of the leaves that stand up above the water are eaten.

One thing I haven't yet seen is any orchid dupe wasps taking on the caterpillars on the wetland. So perhaps eating nardoo, on a wetland, can be seen as a survival stratagem.

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