Cool Caterpillar

 by Donna Lewis

This Pandora Sphinx was a very interesting caterpillar I found one day while walking around our place.

Pandora sphinx moth from 2015.

It’s rust colored, very fat with bright yellow almost tear-drop eye patches. I had never seen one before or since then.  I was excited to find it.

It was eating leaves on a Virginia Creeper vine, a vine with five leaves.

Here’s a picture of Virginia creeper taken by Ann Collins from iNaturalist (Creative Commons copyright).

The Virginia Creeper is a great  native vine to have around.  It tolerates most soil conditions and climates  It has many uses for wildlife, and can be used as a vine in gardens.

Many birds such as Bluebirds, Titmice, Cedar Waxwings, Robins, Chickadees, and more love its berries.  Several species of Moths and Butterflies use it as a host plant.

This is also the vine that created the saying we were taught as children.

Leaves of 3 leave it be, leaves of 5 let it thrive….

Poison ivy near Cameron, by Sue Ann Kendall from iNaturalist. Creative Commons copyright.

This vine is often mistaken for our favorite vine, Poison Ivy, but Poison Ivy has three leaves.

Right now you can find both vines just about  everywhere in the country especially around wooded areas with part shade, so be careful to identify which one you just touched..

I have personally found that an over-the-counter product called “Tecnu” Poison Ivy Scrub. If used within 8 hours, it can really help get rid of the oil that causes the itching.

I should buy it by the case!  I never learn.

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