Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

On Friday morning, I noticed a tiny green caterpillar crawling up the stem of a plant in our back yard.  Saturday afternoon, my son and I went outside to see what the caterpillar was up to and found it spinning around on a thread, building some kind of nest.  Sunday morning, when we went out to check on the progress, the caterpillar had completely enclosed itself inside a silky home underneath a leaf.  At first, we thought the caterpillar was building a chrysalis, but the white sac it built around itself doesn’t look at all like one.  I read that a caterpillar larvae can go through several stages of growth.  The larvae rests between growth periods by building itself a silk home underneath a leaf.  Perhaps that is what this white sac is?

After much research, I’ve decided this caterpillar is either a California Oakworm, which makes sense, since we have three oak trees covering our back yard or, more likely from how it looks, a Fruittree Leafroller .  As much as we were hoping this little guy would one day become a beautiful butterfly, it’s clear now that it is merely a pesky moth.  I understand these little guys aren’t anything to be too concerned about, as they are usually taken care of naturally by predators before they become an infestation.  With the huge number of birds visiting our yard each day, I suspect this caterpillar won’t last long.  However, if any of you out there are experts on this subject and believe these moths to be a threat to our oak trees, please let me know.

In the meantime, we’re going to enjoy watching the changes this tiny creature may go through…  from one stage of larvae to the next, and, later, if it doesn’t become bird food first, from caterpillar to moth.

C Caterpillar 020

C Caterpillar 025

Pupa 001

Photos taken April 14th and 15th, 2013


WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge:  Change


  1. Wonderful photos 🙂 It’s really cool to check out the little things nature has to offer. Thanks for sharing!


    1. It’s fun to look closely at plants, the grass, rocks, dirt, etc. to see what you can find. There’s usually some kind of critter going about its business somewhere!


  2. Lily Mugford says:

    Love this, such curious creatures.


    1. Yes, any creature that goes through metamorphosis is fascinating to me. Or perhaps that was a double entendre… both kids and caterpillars are curious. 🙂


  3. Tracy Dodge says:

    I love the second photo — it really gives the scale of how small the caterpillar is.


    1. It’s tiny! Like half an inch long. It’s a cute little thing.


  4. Beautiful photo’s! The first one is a real awesome shot!


  5. Alex Jones says:

    That will be an interesting activity to participate in, watching the progress of this creature.


    1. We’ve been enjoying it so far! My son told me this morning that his favorite insect is a caterpillar. 🙂


  6. Coral Swan says:

    What an interesting, informative post – and the photos are super… So it may become a moth rather than a butterfly. Maybe you’ll find butterfly caterpillars some other time?
    Happy observing and researching…


    1. I know a great place to see gorgeous caterpillars and I’ve taken my son to look at them, but I’d love to see one around our home! Maybe this year..


  7. I like that first photo, nice close up!


    1. Thanks! It was tough to focus in on it instead of the fence behind.


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