I was out looking for the caterpillars of the Variegated Fritillary butterfly on the Maypop the other day. I had seen the butterfly laying eggs a while back and wanted to see if any progress was made. No luck I think perhaps the ants ate all the eggs. Too bad, but I will continue to monitor and hope for the best.
Out of the side of my eye, I glanced over at a groundsel bush (Baccharis halimifolia) and watched with amazement as this bagworm was rocking and rolling and swinging the bag back and forth as it voraciously ate away at the leaves of this Florida native shrub.
Until recently I hadn't really paid too much attention to bagworms, thinking they were merely cocoons awaiting emergence of the concealed occupant. Well, again I was astonished by the critter within as at least an inch or more of caterpillar was leaning out of the bag while it dined away. Of course as I got close the resident retracted and went back to "playing possum" (thanks again to Carole Brown for the apropos terminology).
I've tried to find it again thinking I would perhaps capture it and raise it in captivity to learn a bit more, but alas, my decorated friend was nowhere to be found. Perhaps he read my mind and decided to continue the ride on the wild side, hiding from my thoughts and anticipations.