Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stay away

This Frangipani catepillar species is all over a Frangipani tree next to the steps that go down to the beach from our condo. Their color is to warn predators they are not good to eat - even toxic. They eat the leaves of the frangipani tree (also known as a plumeria) which give the catepillar its toxic reputation. At around 5 inches in length they are easy to see munching along on the leaf. We are told that a treeful of munching catepillars are very loud on a quiet night. After the catepillars get their fill, they drop to the ground, bury themselves and morph (we are wondering how to use metamorphasis as a verb?) into the smallish and plain hawk moth. All of this munching does not harm the tree. Tropical trees apparently do not loose their leaves as trees do in more temperate climates. In the case of the frangipani tree, the frangipani catepillar eats them all off and the new set grows in as the old are being eaten away.

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