Wild Weeds

      Featured in this video are a bunch of caterpillars. More specifically, during the last half of March of 2015 Searles Valley was hit by a White Lined Sphinx Caterpillar Invasion. Some people reported seeing columns of these little critters marching through the desert and into town and, as luck would have it, several hundred wound up in my backyard. Obviously, an army must be fed, but these little soldiers were pretty picky about what they ate. Although they crawled on several different plants, it seemed that they only actually ate two plants: Brown-Eyed Evening Primrose and Mexican Evening Primrose, one a wildflower or weed, depending on one's perspective, and the other a commonly cultivated plant. Trona had experienced a particularly intense Brown-Eyed Evening Primrose bloom during the Spring of 2015 and so there was plenty of this plant to satisfy the caterpillars' appetites. Reportedly, White Lined Sphinx Caterpillars will eat a variety of plants including Purslane, but although there was plenty of Purslane in my backyard and a few caterpillars crawled over the plant, I didn't see them eating any Purslane. Other than the Evening Primrose the only other thing I saw the caterpillars actually eat were Willow Tree leaves.


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     No actual lyrics to this song, but there are incoherent vocalizations to be heard once the song gets going!


      White Lined Sphinx Caterpillars eventually transform into White Lined Sphinx Moths, also sometimes called Hummingbird Moths due to their size and ability to hover while extracting nectar from flowers. The metamorphosis from larvae to moth takes two to three weeks and takes place in underground cocoons. Also known by the scientific name Hyles lineata, it has been asserted that these caterpillars are edible... NO THANKS!!!

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