|© Hungry by biologie-me.blogspot.com|
Alice would have a thing or two to say about these hungry munchers. It is a Caterpillar Wonderland and the wild green vine is the complimentary buffet. They may look like caterpillars but these are actually sawfly larvae.
The sawfly is a mystery to most people. The insect is part of the family of Hymenoptera and some species are considered "pests" because the larvae eat farmer's crops and damage foliage, eating the leaves outright (like mine) or eating the leaves from the inside-out.
The adult sawfly can easily be mistaken for a wasp although they do not have stingers and do no harm to humans. The female adult sawfly has a little "saw" called an ovipositor on her rear-end that she uses to cut open plant tissue and lay eggs inside.
I often use the leaves of my vine (which grows wild in my backyard near the fence-line during the spring and all throughout summer) to photograph my jewelry for sale in my Etsy shop because the leaves are a beautiful green and compliment a lot of my pieces:
Caterpillars and other insects love the vine and can devour large portions of it in a matter of hours. This doesn't phase me a bit because the vine grows back as thick and pretty as ever within a few days to a week!
Dr. Dave Smith, a sawfly expert, at BugGuide.net identified these "bugs" for me and also told me this vine is part of the Cissus family. This is a host vine for my sawflies, whose scientific name is Ceratulus spectabilis. Further research shows the plant is a native of Central Texas and is commonly known as Sorrel Vine (Cissus incisa). It's a great vine to grow in my area because it has a high heat tolerance and can be used in place of ornamental ivy. I love the idea of growing native plant species in my backyard as opposed to using imported exotics.
Apparently, sawfly larvae choose to ignore the rule about not crapping where you eat:
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What kind of bugs have you seen lately?