The Results

Top Photo: A very fresh narrow-mouthed toad.

Back in July when rainy days and nights reigned over the wetlands I would hear the bleating, lamb-like call of narrow-mouthed toads calling from in and around the wet areas of our campus. The toads were here to mate. The results are in.

Ranger Tim, on duty in Hideaway Woods, spotted a freshly morphed narrow-mouthed toad along the path there. They are very small. Newly morphed toads are about 10 mm, give or take a few millimeters.

The adult toads spend a good part of their day under logs and other forest debris. They’re fond of eating ants, but may also eat termites and other small insects.

Tiny grains of sand and mulch stick to newly transformed narrow-mouthed toad in Ranger Tim’s hand.

Luna moth activity had picked up to such a degree in July that I was frequently finding spent luna moth wings along our trails and walkways. Now, I’m finding luna moth caterpillars, grown to the size and exhibiting behavior of caterpillars ready to pupate.

I saw two caterpillars on the path and two more still munching on sweetgum leaves, plump enough to go off and seek a suitable site to form a cocoon among the leaf liter. They are about 2.5″ in length. The caterpillars will either emerge as adults in about two weeks or go into diapause over the winter depending on the flight. These will probably overwinter and emerge as adults next year.

Luna moth caterpillar ready to pupate.

Just last week I posted about the activities of black swallowtail caterpillars munching away on carrots in the Butterfly House’s outdoor vegetable garden. The caterpillars had eaten their fill and I had discovered several chrysalids in the vicinity of the garden.

Today, I witnessed the final results of all that munching and chrysalis building, an adult male black swallowtail butterfly visiting the various flowers in the garden.

Male black swallowtail butterfly.

Where there’s one narrow-mouthed toad, luna moth caterpillar, or black swallowtail, there’s bound to be more. Keep your eyes peeled.

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