While at Shady Oaks Butterfly Farm in Gainesville, Florida I picked out many caterpillars. The first caterpillars I will do a posting on, are the White Peacock caterpillars. I got a total of eight! These little critters rode in containers, on my lap, for the three hour drive home. And the whole way home all I did was watch them eat. It may seem strange to you, but I enjoy watching munching caterpillars more than watching TV.
Wow, these little guys can grow fast. This one is already an inch long. When bigger they have small orange dots along their black bodies. Also, they have many spikes which look pointy, but are actually not sharp at all! What a great defense. If I were a wasp I would think twice before messing with this caterpillar.
Of course, I have to include a picture of a caterpillar molting. Right after shedding of the skin, caterpillars are vulnerable to predators. They must wait hours for the skin to harden. I’m glad I’m not a caterpillar!
Here are two pictures of my Water Hyssop plant. It is one of the host plants for the White Peacock. This plant started out so tiny, but grew into a monster vine! Water Hyssops are native to Florida. They die back in winter, but grow back in Spring. The reason I wanted to get White Peacock caterpillars from Shady Oaks is because I haven’t had any White Peacocks lay eggs on my vine. I’m hoping and praying that the butterflies I release come back to lay eggs.
I hope you enjoyed learning about White Peacocks. Please check back soon to see updates. If you would like to purchase caterpillars, Shady Oaks Butterfly Farm sells several different species. They take very good care of their caterpillars, and make sure the caterpillar are well protected during shipping. http://www.butterfliesetc.com/buy-butterfly-caterpillars?p=1