Here is a picture I took of a baby just a day or so after hatching. When they first come out they look like tiny black spots crawling on the fennel plants. Please overlook my dirty fingernails and ink stained finger. The important thing here is the caterpillar! This particular caterpillar actually "bit the dust" so to speak. He or she accidentally got crunched or should I say smooshed... Caterpillars are very sensitive.
Here we are looking at another little friend at about 1.5 weeks. He now has those beautiful colorful markings that distinguish him from others of his kind. What you don't see is what is lurking at the top of his head. These are tiny little "horns" (I call them) that look like orange balloons. When he gets angry they come out and discharge a strange odor that smells something like anise. The kids at school (mostly certain boys) get a kick out of pestering the caterpillars and making their "horns" poof out. Here is a video clip with an example of what they do. Unfortunately I can't make the aroma come along with the video!
Aren't you glad people don't have these appendages that protrude out when they get mad?? I can see it now...
I burn dinner and my family is sitting at the table staring at me with these strange stinky orange horns.
People are much more dignified about their anger than caterpillars... Maybe if we did have these strange orange "horns" that squirt out horrible odor, we would be much more careful about dealing with our anger. Who wants to walk around looking like that??? In my mind's eye I can see just how ridiculous we would all look with this feature :) Good thing God created us without them.
Here is something neat.This is an aphid on the back of a caterpillar. You would have never known that it was there but with the handy dandy microscope there it is. It seems like there is a whole unseen world out there when you peer into the lens of a microscope. Better watch what you eat from now on. My son Nathan is a very picky eater. He literally inspects every bite. I doubt that he would ever eat anything again if he could see what is really crawling in and through the food.
I can't get enough of those toes...
Check out this fat mama. She looks like the Goodyear Tire Caterpillar. I absolutely love her toes. Caterpillars are insects therefore they have six legs. Check out these cute toes. And those toe nails!!! Talk about outrageous :) This bug had style long before punk ever became a word!! For some reason the spring caterpillars looks fatter than our fall ones. I will compare them when school starts again.
These are not my toes I want you to know. Caterpillars were into Goth way before people ever dreamed it up. Personally, I prefer the caterpillar black toe nails over the human ones :)
And belly hair...
Pretty soon our friend is going to turn into mush. He/She will form a J shape, harden and become a chrysalis. Inside the chrysalis the body will turn into a strange kind of soup.
I will keep you posted :)