Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rock Gathering Diversions

I travelled again to my friend's swamp to gather limerock for Mount Pure Florida or "Olympus Ponds" as I like to call it.

"It" being the gardenpondwaterfolly feature growing in the front yard.

It's like a black hole for rocks.

A cool sunny day and a liberal misting of Cutter Insect Repellent kept the mosquitoes at bay, but I did not venture into the deep shadey regions to see the little creek this time. I don't think I carry enough hemoglobin for that ...

Mostly I gathered rocks, but as usual, there were a few diversions from grunting rocks out of clay soil.

I did find Giant Swallowtail caterpillars feeding on what seems to be poison ivy. I've wrestled with other possibilities, but it still appears to be poison ivy. So, bug nerds, do the larvae of Giant Swallowtails eat poison ivy?

I'll share those Swallowtail photos later this week, but in keeping with my general laissez faire attitude toward bug ID, I present you with a gift of unknown (to me) caterpillars.

Let us unwrap your squishy gift.

Here we see your present all wrapped up.

We begin the opening ... pretty exciting huh?

Here at last is your lovely gift.
You don't like it?
Here's some advice ... "Never look a gift larvae in the frass"

The fruits of my labors sit awaiting direction by the Director.

She pulled a muscle the last time we did rock arranging, so this time I made her just tell me where she wanted them and I did the heavy lifting.

I figure I lifted each of these rocks 3 times at least ...

1) When I first gathered them.
2) When I unloaded them back at PFHQ
3) When I was told where to put them.

And you wonder why I'm skinny...


threecollie said...

I handle rocks all the time and that simply does not work for me. Wish it did! lol
Them caterpillars give me the creepy crawlies though.

valown said...

We've been lucky in that we haven't had too many mosquitoes yet. I probably just jinxed myself. Crap...

Doug Taron said...

Giant swallowtails eat citrus. A lot of the native citrus have tripartite leaves. Wafer ash (Ptelea) comes to mind.

Doug Taron said...

I can offer only minimal help with your unknown caterpillars. They look like some sort of notodontid. It's a difficult group, in part because many species change their appearance radically as they mature. Knowing what the host plant was might help. Or not.

Anonymous said...

great bolg as always, when thunder see this bolg it will be.I have a new recipe for stir fry or something. hefting rocks is better than going to the jim.go slim S T E B

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmmm lettuce wraps.

We don't have alot of poison ivy in this area but we do have poison oak. I swear I must have turned leaves over through half an acre looking for stuff like this but...

Wait a minute... uh oh.

Cathy S. said...

I bet you moved those rocks at least two more times than you noted here. Having done landscape work with my hubby, I stand back and have him place then, then change my mind at least two more times until he gets mad and goes in the house.

Anonymous said...

Same here with the rock moving. But, you still find time to take a break and discover new things. Wanted to let you know the Killdeer came back this year (no show last summer) built thier nest right in the middle of the drive. Barely visible in a little clump of purplish flowering ground cover. Found it yesterday, 4 eggs. The adults did thier little broken wing routine. Got some good shots, now wait for around 3 weeks, give or take a day.
Bro J

tsiya said...

Looks like Virginia Creeper.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

When I was a kid I would get a burning rag and apply it tenderly to the caterpillar nests. Now that I am older and wiser, I think I'd do the same thing.

Chrisss said...

Great post and photos.

Floridacracker said...

Well, I know I burned off my breakfast cinnamon roll.

They peaked a few weeks ago and have backed off a little. They were still pretty bad in that swampy area.

Funny, but here at home today, I found two of the same larvae on a small potted citrus tree.
I think today's post caterpillar were actually on an ash.

Much better than the gym.

Calamine ... an ocean of it.

Cathy S,
That was closer to the truth.

Bro J,
Neat! I haven't seen that for a while.

No, it was some shrubby young tree ... kind of ashy looking.

Me too when they are in a fruit tree.

Thanks! Welcome to Pure Florida!