Thursday, September 02, 2010

Native Plants Feed the Needy Next To Mountain Lakes House Driveway

This spicebush silkmoth (Callosamia promethea) is showing its appreciation of our work. Last year, we rescued some small spicebush from the lower dam of Mountain Lakes and transplanted them close to the greenhouse at Mountain Lakes House. After the effort to keep them watered through the long drought this summer, it's flattering that the caterpillar showed up to eat a portion of our fine crop. Spicebush, as is typical of native plants, gives a portion of its leaves to charity, which is to say it provides food for the native insects that specialize in consuming it. The spicebush swallowtail is another example.

Thirty feet away, in a circular garden surrounded by the asphalt of the Mountain Lakes House driveway, is a more familiar caterpillar, the monarch, specialized to eat only milkweed species. In this case it's a swamp milkweed grown from local seed.
Other insects are finding this oasis to their liking. The last photo may be of a Tachina fly ( Trichopoda pennipes), frequently found on boneset this time of year.

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