Yesterday I spent the day at a wonderful Master Gardener program in Nevada, Missouri. A group of 4 of us left Cass County and traveled to Nevada for the all day program. The morning session was all about butterfly gardening, including information on our native butterflies and moths, butterfly needs and how to establish a butterfly garden that supports a local population of butterflies that will overwinter and populate our new garden. The program was presented by butterfly expert/Master Gardener Lenora Lawson of the Miami County (KS) Master Gardeners.
But besides gaining an abundance of information, I was able to get a long-time mystery solved … the identification of a caterpillar I found on my local native prairie in 2010:
After the butterfly program, I showed Lenora one of my mystery caterpillar photos, which she immediately exclaimed, “That’s a beautiful Red-spotted Datana moth!” I had looked online, in several reference books, and even had Lincoln University (St. Louis, MO) look at my photos, but the identity was a mystery until I met Lenora. She also mentioned that the photo shows this caterpillar in a “defensive” posture. Apparently, once it saw/heard me getting close to photograph it, it raised it’s head and posterior ends, a posturing it does to scare off potential predators. Amazing!
As I looked back to get the shooting info, I saw that this image was made in late August. Guess I’ll need to watch for more of these beauties on my next prairie outing!
Photographic Equipment Used:
- Canon 1D Mark 3 body
- Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
- Bogen 3221 tripod with Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
- ISO 200
- Aperture f/16
- Shutter 1/80 sec.