Caterpillars and Muscadines

cat1Several of us found this beautiful caterpillar strolling across “The Barn” parking area on Saturday, 9/13,at the Oconee Foray. I finally got around to trying to determine the species when I had lunch with my friend Joe Fink day before yesterday. I’ve known Joe since 1970 when we took an entomology class together at UT. We are both retired now, but along the way Joe had enough entomology credits to have a major in it if he cat2wanted, and I took four entomology classes along my journey. We both used extensive insect collections in our teaching. Surely, I thought, we’ll figure this one out – being that it is so distinctive. After going over images in several large web sites and trying to key it out, I realized I was stuck, so I sent the photographs in to www.butterfiesandmoths.org. Next day I had the answer: A moth Heterocampa umbrata, White-blotched heterocampa.    As it turns out, the normal caterpillar color is green, but right before pupation it changes color and markings significantly. I should have thought of this. Why else would it be traveling in Fall rather than feeding on the oaks, its favorite food?

jellyMuscadines. We went to South Alabama last weekend, and we picked abut 15 pounds of muscadines (actually scuppernongs). I was able to extract about a gallon of juice, and this morning Ellen and I made 16 jars of jelly. It is delicious too ! I had two muscadine jelly and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch Yummy. There is a lot of bounty in the fall.

We finally got rain – 1 1/2 inches on Tuesday. Should be some mushrooms finally.