O LORD, how manifold are thy works!
in wisdom hast thou made them all:
the earth is full of thy riches.
Among the trailing vines that wrapped themselves around and around the old rusted fence, moved a small creature. It’s eighteen feet moving forward inch by inch. Stiff black bristles shone in the sunlight that beamed from a cloudless sky. It had bright red markings on it’s back that showed when ever it moved across the leaves, or curled into a defensive position. The creature was a Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar.
The Giant Leopard Moth Larva after we found it. :)
My sister found the Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar while gathering vines to use in making a basket. She showed it to me, and I was quite excited to see it. Several years ago we had found an identical looking caterpillar happily munching on our cabbage plants in the garden. While not too happy about the cabbage, we nevertheless determined to look up what kind of larva it was. After much searching in our book entitled Butterflies and Moths by David Carter, (a great book to have on hand if interested in different kinds of butterflies and moths.) we came to the conclusion that it was a Giant Leopard Moth larva. Because it was a beautiful moth, we decided to keep it until it completed its metamorphosis. So when my sister found this caterpillar I thought it would be neat to keep it to observe once again one of God’s amazing creatures change from a crawling insect to a flying moth of beauty. Science has always been fascinating to me, in school it was my favorite subject, and I still enjoy learning new things about God’s creation. What an awesome Lord He is! There is beauty and wonder all around us if we will only look, from the stars and planets in the heaven, to the lowly insects and worms beneath our feet. :)
(before the parasitic fly larva hatched.)
I was able to keep the caterpillar for a week before it started to “spin” its cocoon. It was neat to watch it slowly weave strand after strand of golden colored “thread” that came from an area near its mouth. It continued to weave until it had imprisoned itself with in the web. It had never done it before and yet it did it with ease like an expert. :) Even seemingly “little” things like the life cycle of an Moth or Butterfly are awesome testaments to our great, wise all-powerful God.
I found this beautiful photo of an adult Giant Leopard Moth on the Wikipedia website.
Disappointingly, unknown to me, the caterpillar had become a host for a parasitic fly, which apparently had laid its eggs on or in the caterpillar before I got it. They hatched at this point and killed it. While doing some research online regarding parasitic flies I found that they, for the most part, are helpful insects. They are designed for a purpose to help control harmful insects. It was disappointing to have the Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar die, but on the other hand, it was a new learning experience as I had never came in contact with something like it before. All of God’s creatures serve some purpose, and even the flies are evidence of God’s amazing design.