The Price of a Butterfly

I’m lucky to live in an area where Dainty Swallowtail butterflies occur. The larvae of these native butterflies have adapted to feed on cultivated citrus (such as lime and lemon) as well as native plants of the family Rutaceae.

So what do you do when big caterpillars are chewing chunks off your citrus leaves? Not a lot!

There is a line in my book Garden Pests, Diseases & Good Bugs which says: A citrus tree with a few chewed leaves is a small price to pay for the pleasure of observing beautiful swallowtails in the garden.

I hope you enjoy the video.

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Insect Architects

After a few months off for house painting one minute bugs is back!

I was prompted to write this post after completing an article for Hort Journal Australia on a similar topic. My argument in the Hort Journal piece was that insects are not mathematical or engineering geniuses, and that their behaviour is dictated by the instincts they have evolved with. All very scientific and anti-anthropomorphic. The post here is a bit different. Let’s marvel at the exquisite perfection of some of the structures that insects build.

Our first architects are moths of the family Psychidae – the case moths. These are harmless creatures found in most gardens throughout Australia. Cases are spun by caterpillars from silk to which twigs, sand, moss, lichen, leaves or bark are attached. The cases can open and close at each end, the front end for feeding and the rear end for ejecting droppings. I believe the species illustrated below is Lepidoscia arctiella – look at how precise those little bits of twig are!

Psychidae

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