My older girl took home two caterpillars last Friday as part of a science experiment. She has been quite excited about it – the school is quite progressive in where it allows the students to blog about their caterpillars. So, when the caterpillars arrived, she was over the moon.
Now, I am not an insect expert (though I read a lot and is a plant/animal geek). I noticed that the caterpillars were… um… spiky. They were big fat black caterpillars with spikes/processes, feeding on leaves I thought I’d recognized. I quizzed older girl on the diet of the spiky caterpillars and she replied: “Mulberry”. I have two pots of mulberry plants (Morus alba, for the scientific-minded), but their leaves did not resembled the ones inside the container. They looked more like the ones of the Australian mulberry, not from the Morus species.
I did my research and voila – the caterpillars are the young of the Malayan Eggfly and they eat the leaves of the Australian mulberry (Pipturus argentus), a relative of nettles!
One caterpillar did not make it through the night. Its companion pupated.
Apologies for the blurry pictures though.