Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Parasite beauty and ugly children

Doing some pruning in the garden and noticed a mistletoe in flower in amongst its host acacia and then noticed the caterpillars feeding on the mistletoe. The question should I kill the caterpillars or maybe the mistletoe? What is the result of my decision? If I kill the mistletoe the caterpillars will lose a food source; If I kill the caterpillars will the mistletoe eventually kill the acacia?  I will leave leave the caterpillars as I know they will soon turn into beautiful butterflies and will continue to keep the mistletoe under control in our backyard.

Dendrophthoe vitellina
I will remove the mistletoe after flowering and the caterpillars are gone, as I want to keep the acacia and we have lots more mistletoe on much larger trees that can resist the mistletoe attack.  
Delias nigrina larvae

Common Jezabel Delias nigrina

No comments:

Post a Comment