Jailbreak Caterpillars

We’ve had rain. After not having any for almost 2 months. Things come alive again. Things you want to come alive and…well…. other things. From my studio, I noticed a frangiapani tree that was growing unevenly and at that moment had to go out with pruners and do some lopping.

I grabbed the biggest branch, poised the Felcos’ #9 made for lefties and with precision, executed my first cut. Off came this unexpected conglomeration of the most bizarre caterpillar cluster I’d ever seen here. In my hand. Like a bouquet. They’re actually velvety, ( yes, I had to pet one ).

Their coloring is a warning to experienced predators that they are not to be eaten without Rolaids or, worse, the handy phone number of the Poison Control Center. They average between 4-6 inches, lay zillions of eggs on the underside of the leaves, and strip the tree to its’ skeletal remains. The leaves grow back. The caterpillars turn into B-52 moths.

That’s what I call them because although there’s nothing stealth like about them, they’re huge, and have the same wing formation.

Thought it was a sign that I needn’t worry about the shape of the tree. Mother Nature was going to help me take care of that.

And I got to use my new camera ( notice that depth of field?) Or lack of.

This is the rain that poured 4 gorgeous inches of rain on us, spawned the spawning of Jailbreak Caterpillars ( really, officially: Frangianpani Worms ).

Before she became Miss Hurricane Fay, she was this…….

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22 Responses to “Jailbreak Caterpillars”

  1. planetross Says:

    I wish I some of those caterpillars! I just get the crappy tent variety. Awesome photo.

  2. Paz Says:

    Oh, my! Interesting looking caterpillars. You actually pet them? Wow! Brave. Love the last photo.

    Paz

  3. w1kkp Says:

    Holy Herring! You is a photographer, too!!! Did you use the macro for the critters? Oh, sweet jaysus, you would have heard me from here if a tangle of those things fell on top of me or even in the next state to mine. Lovely, lovely sunset. Oh, I’m liking this new acquisition of yours. Although, as someone once said to me…it’s the eye behind the camera. (Part 11 of What Web Men Need is up and I’m donning the mushroom German solder helmet.)

    What fun this all is.

  4. bonnieluria Says:

    Pat- long ago in the days of SLRs’ and wasted film and waiting for processing ( gadszooks how could anyone in todays’ world wait to get photos back- can you imagine life in the slow blog lane:

    “I’ll be posting some interesting images in the next two weeks, if the mail doesn’t lose my negatives and
    if even 2 of the roll of 36 come out to my liking, so please come back and visit my blog before your clothes go out of style…”.

    I know, I know, a crazy concept AND a run on sentence.
    But yes, years, OK, decades ago I bought a Pentax Spotmatic and never left home without it. I always loved capturing images, not just taking pictures. So I’m back in the mode once again and I love it. And NO waiting.

    Yes, it was on macro. And the sunset was hardly fiddled with- it just came out with that kind of pre-storm lighting.

    When your posts aren’t fun, they’re something deep and heartfelt. But fun it is. Every day.

    So glad you’re here ( or there. wish you were here. )

  5. Mary Sheehan Winn Says:

    OMG
    I thought it was a large stuffed toy stuck in the tree!
    whoa!

  6. Carol Says:

    Beautiful photos, but creeeeeeepy caterpillars. I see you got right to work with your new G9.

    I laughed at your description of bogging whilst using film that one must mail away to get developed. HOW DID WE EVER LIVE WITHOUT DIGITAL CAMERAS and the internet?

  7. david lobenberg Says:

    Oh sure, Bonnie! Take a caterpillar photo and doctor it up the yin yang in photoshop. You must think your readers were just dropped off the banana boat! Speaking of banana boats, you won!!! Go back to the comment section of my latest post.

  8. razzbuffnik Says:

    Now that I grow some of my own food I look at butterflies differently to how I used to.

    Now when I see a butterfly I think about caterpillars, and I hates them to pieces!

  9. joann Says:

    OH, Bonnie! What beautiful photographs. Oh Bonnie, what beautiful catipillars, Oh Bonnie–YUCK!

  10. bonnieluria Says:

    Mary- when I first saw them here years ago, I was so astonished at how fake they looked! Like Dr. Seuss played with evolution or something,,,,,,

    They’re munching away as I type and the leaves are disappearing.
    Thanks so much for dropping by here and leaving your notes.

    I’ve enjoyed looking at your art, too.

  11. bonnieluria Says:

    Carol- for the tiredest person in the world, digital is the bomb!
    Waiting makes you so much more tired, no?

  12. bonnieluria Says:

    David, my glee at having won your prize is now posted as #27 on your latest blog entry.

  13. bonnieluria Says:

    Razz- I know what you’re feeling. We used to grow veggies when I first got here but it was a constant struggle to keep ahead of the varmints.
    Beautiful shoots one day, stalks and stumps the next.
    We wouldn’t use insecticides either so it made it a losing battle.
    I know they have to eat too, but they decimate little bits of everything, making it all useless.

  14. bonnieluria Says:

    Jo-Ann, you, too, live in a place with insects and unidentifiable creatures.
    Yeah, but I guess you don’t go running out with your macro lens to shoot them and then feel compelled to actually touch one!

    But don’t they make striking photo subjects?

  15. nathaliewithanh Says:

    I feel so sorry for the poor caterpillars – turning into such dull gray moths. It’s like The Ugly Duckling in reverse. Nature can be so cruel! ;-(

  16. wrjones Says:

    Great photo of a worm orgy.

    I like the little baby hurricane. When it grows up do you have a safe place to hunker down and paint worms in?

  17. Marian Fortunati Says:

    Gorgeous photos… Gosh I LOVE digital camera. I’m sure the hurricane was a pain, but you DO realize how absolutely wonderful the place where you live is don’t you. Of course your outlook and wonderful photos seem to bring EVERYTHING to lovely life!
    I remember seeing worms like that in St. John, I think. And there are also those creatures (termites???) that create long mud tunnels that run down branches across paths and go from tree to tree. Nature is very strange and beautiful at the same time.
    Are you going to paint a ‘piller?

  18. bonnieluria Says:

    wr- I haven’t experienced an ” H ” since I’ve been here. We had a close call 4 years ago with Jeanne @ 90 mph winds but it was fine. The only thing I’d be painting if a big one comes, would be the inside of my esophagus with a large bottle of rum!

  19. bonnieluria Says:

    Marian- love digital cameras, and this is my first good one.
    Every day that I wake up and look out at this place, I think- ” who needs a TV,” and that I’m still amazed and dazzled.
    Even with its’ trying moments which can happen anywhere, and do.

    Hadn’t thought about painting one of those…hmmmm……

  20. Tony Says:

    Such beautiful coloued caterpillars, looks like they’re all wearing their team football colous

  21. Mary Sheehan Winn Says:

    Bonnie, thanks for checking me out. I very much like your paintings. Glad you are sound after the Hurricane. Keep your head down and stay safe.

  22. Pat Brown Says:

    I googled “caterpillars of St. Croix” and found this photo. I’m visiting here for a few months and just saw some, today. I’ve never seen anything like them. They are huge! We just had a lot of rain and they are all over the bush they eat. Tons of them. Will take photo tomorrow. Amazing!

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