This image is a bit of a cheat. I took this photo nearly a month ago when Libby and I were at Roundrock. I don’t think it’s representative of what’s creeping about in the forests of the Ozarks right now.
To my best guesstimate, this is a Striped Garden Caterpillar (Trichordestra legitima). The little I could find about it online suggested that my woods are just within its range. It’s a general feeder, finding many plants (and apparently flowers) it will eat. I suppose it is an evolutionary adaptation that the colors of this caterpillar match the predominant colors in the forest right now. They are commonly found in clearings and edges, which is where this little one turned up. Libby spotted it in the grassy area just above the lake despite its clever coloring.
These caterpillars turn into gray and brown spotted moth, and because these moths are nocturnal, I’ve never seen them at Roundrock.
Unfortunately for this caterpillar, though, it never got the chance to realize its full potential. I carried the tight bundle of protein to the water’s edge and tossed it in. Slowly it began to sink, but we saw a dark shape approach it in the water and then gobble it up.
Years and years ago, when Libby and I stayed in our very first bed and breakfast (A Little Log Cabin in the Woods near Hermann, Missouri — we were looking for land to buy), we were out walking the trails they had behind the cabin. Along the trail was a small spring-fed pool that had fish in it. The big entertainment at the bed and breakfast was to take along a bag of kibble and feed the fish. While were sitting there — the kibble all gone — I saw an inch worm hanging from a thread before me. Well, I thought this might be nutritious for the fish, so I plucked it from its thread and tossed it in the water.
To my surprise, the tiny green worm didn’t break the surface tension of the pool. Instead it managed to inch across the water, eventually making it to land and a well-deserved liberty.
Those are the only two times, folks, that I’ve ever feed fish in this way. I don’t think that’s pathological, is it?
- The Missouri Natural Events Calendar is blank for today.
Today in Missouri history:
- On this date in 1968 the Democrats in the Missouri Senate chose Earl Blackwell as their president pro tem. This was the beginning of 14 months of fighting and maneuvering as Blackwell positioned himself as the most powerful man in the state, only to be ousted by his own party for having â€œstepped on too many toes.â€