Puppy Dogs and Butterflies

Puppy Dogs and Butterflies

There are days when nothing happens. This one afternoon, new experiences awakened my senses.

While watering my potted plants, I noticed that our calamansi’s leaves have been eaten by something. I suspected caterpillars. Sure enough, there were a couple of them crawling up and down the branches.

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

I wasn’t familiar with the crawlers. They look like slithering bird droppings. Later, I discovered in the Interwebs that they’re the larva of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio cresphontes). They look like bird doo-doo to escape predators.

Photo opp! I set up my portable studio in the patio and shot away. The caterpillar was cooperative (he obviously had no choice), but he made my photo session a living hell with the stink he whipped up every time he felt threatened and extended those red horn-like extensions (the osmeterium). These red extensions scare predators; the stink makes threats go “ewww!” I wanted to capture the alert posture, so I had to be neither scared nor repulsed. The stench stayed in my nose for hours afterwards; I had to smear cologne on my nostrils.

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar ignoring me.

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar giving me the ewww!

When I went back to the calamansi to see if I should be worried about the plant, our neighbor came by. Her dog Brussels (a Brussels Griffon, no brainer) licked my leg. I took a few photos of Brussels’ Ewok face and exchanged some small talk (with the owner, and the dog).

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon and Human

After they left, I walked to the side of the house where I had my pineapple plant. It started to flower sometime last month. Two weeks ago, I was surprised to see the tiny fruit start to ripen. This afternoon, it was gone.

Tiny Pineapple

Tiny Pineapple (it was this size when it ripened)

I saw the spiny head leaves at the back of the house. Apparently, the squirrel had feasted on the ripe pineapple! Now I’ll never know if it was sweet. So, I planted the head leaves again; and will wait another year or two for it to bear another fruit. Ah well.

My mental notes for that afternoon:
- Check the calamansi tree for cocoons. The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly should be an awesome model to photo-shoot.
- Say hi to Brussels when she and her human walk by again.
- Get fresh pineapples from the supermarket.

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