Ugh. Why do these creatures always test my already poor identification skills?
I assume the caterpillar below is a black swallowtail even though it is not nearly as green as every other picture of a black swallowtail caterpillar ever taken in the universe would suggest. Maybe they become more green as they age.
If I gather the courage, I will wade through the mosquitoes later to see if I can find a chrysalis.
A slightly less welcome caterpillar …
These guys love the tender bits of the Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora) which around here is often called the grape kool-aid tree since that is exactly what the blossoms smell like in the spring. My mountain laurel never really had a chance to flower this year. Just before the blossoms were about to open there was an fierce wind storm that turned the flowers into dried up purple bits. They crumbled between my fingers when I touched them. Optimistic note: this year I won’t have to step on the rock hard beans that normally lie in wait for bare feet. When my son was a young Lego builder I became adept at avoiding that particular kind of surprise but that was many years ago and my feet are losing their sixth sense.
I assume the picture shows a genista broom moth. They are frequently described as green but this one and his rather large posse were clearly more red than green. They are a pest but I kind of like his magic eight ball head.
Last is a picture of what I have come to call the Cousin It Caterpillar
Again, another tricky identification. I spotted this caterpillar on a hackberry growing near the stream. This time it wasn’t the colour that tripped me up but the time of year. The common name for Hyphantria cunea is the fall webworm moth but I took this photo early in May and the caterpillar looks like it is just about ready to cocoon. Plus, it was really large. If I had been brave enough to risk touching its ‘fur’ it would easily have stretched across the palm of my hand. When I think of web worms I see those tiny caterpillars in a sac of webbing. Does each one really get this big? Amazing.
As always, if you happen to know the real names for this creatures I welcome correction.