PUG CATERPILLAR

January 19, 2016

 

CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK: The ubiquitous Pug! Eupithecia species Pug caterpillars in New England are represented by a myriad of small, slightly chubby inchworms. Many pugs are flower feeders and can be found chowing down on delicate petals in nearly any roadside patch of goldenrod and daisy. They also show up in bouquets inside our homes, read on...

 

"An expanse of white countertop"

 

Scattered across the surface are tiny black grains like spilled pepper. Looming above is a vase of cut flowers taken from an early summer field. Daisy fleabane, blue vervain, goldenrod: Each is home to one or more tiny uninvited pug caterpillars. Dropping frass into untidy piles far below on my kitchen counter.

 

Caterpillars have a way of just showing up. Wildflowers cut and placed indoors will necessarily introduce insects into your home and bud-eating caterpillars are one of the most common invaders. Valentine's day bouquets, boxes of tomatoes, bundles of crisp parsley have all acted as caterpillar Trojan horses. Even crackers from the supermarket may house the larvae of the Indian meal moth. Frass beneath our flowers, a garnish of extra protein upon our salads, a Ramen noodle package needing to be tossed, these are the ways that caterpillars inch into the lives of even the most sedentary and indoors-oriented of us.

 

The notion of this invasion may not please us all, it makes some downright squeamish. For me though, it brings a sly smile to my face. For all of the ways we impact the outdoors, all the humanness we impose on the "others", it feels only right that they invade our privacy and test the walls we have constructed. Glorious natural discovery in our kitchens and our living rooms.

 

-----

 

-Sam Jaffe, TCL Executive Director

 

"Caterpillar of the Week" will highlight a different species we grow in The Caterpillar Lab each week. We hope you enjoy meeting the caterpillars of New England!

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