Monday, September 2, 2013

Fat Creatures in Caladium

This red Caladium bicolor has been with us for two years. Its growth is always curtailed by circumstances that normally goes with a biodiversity garden, at the same time a healthy organic garden. It is dormant during the dry season and jumps to life only during the rainy season. I love it because it is still small and I am eager to multiply it fast. In other words, I am inclined to watch it more than the others.

Here above is its happy stance with just four leaves, and might add 2 more leaves before the rainy season ends.

 I displayed it in the most prominent spot in front of other plants to be vigilant on its growth and development. Can you imagine my consternation one morning when i saw it like this. The biggest leaf is almost totally consumed. Grrrrr! Last year it was eaten by 3 beautifully-looking pink-lavender caterpillar of a moth, which i haven't seen the adults.

 I immediately looked at the suspect, and this is what i saw under the leaf, still happily and quickly munching on the leaf. Of course, i got the camera, prodded it with a stick to show its eyes before i shoot. It stopped a few seconds before munching again. I allowed it to almost finish the whole leaf, anyway the leaf will not be of much function to the plant anymore.

 These creatures are normal residents of our garden during the dry season, they eat also the periwinkles and other colocasia species or taro. This is still very young, those eyes get so big and real scary in maybe 1-2 days more, and its body becomes so thick and real fat. BTW, those eyes are just to scare predators especially our chickens and birds.

I took it away and transferred it to a clump of the more common Caladium, which is more plenty. At least it will have a lot and it can it to its heart's content. I am sure it will not finish all these leaves before pupating.

 I am not sure at first if this variety will also be palatable to its voracious larva palate. But look at its creation a day after transfer. Maybe its appetite needs some getting used to, adjusting to a new menu.

And this is the result after another night after its transfer, it devoured a total of 4 leaves already. I looked for it on all the underside of the leaves, but i cannot see it. I wonder what happened to the fat green larva of the hawksmoth. I hope it is just hiding nicely from predators including me, I hope it is not yet in the gizzard of our roaming free-range chicken.


  1. We have a similar Hornworm here that does a lot of leaf damage but oh the birds and bats love them! Tasty treats:)

  2. Thats a lot of leaf inside the caterpillar! Oh well.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  3. Hungry little critter! The red caladium is really beautiful.

  4. Quite a lovely looking caterpillar

  5. Beautiful patterns on the leaves and the caterpillar is very pretty too.

  6. Good you can share the leaf with the caterpillars!

  7. Lovely caladiums, and beautiful caterpillar. You are so kind to share with it instead of smushing it like so many gardeners would. I like to tend caterpillars as well, but they are only eating plants that are weeds so I enjoy seeing them.

  8. Some of these ate up my mother's plants in one day.


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