Meat-eating Butterfly at Harrison Road Disc Golf Course

2014-06-22 15.10.20Sunday, 22 June 2014, I saw an adult harvester butterfly near the #6 basket while playing a steamy afternoon round of disc golf. This butterfly does the egg, caterpillar, pupa, adult life cycle, but with a twist: instead of plants the caterpillar eats living flesh!

I escaped this encounter with my life because: 1) the adults do not have chewing mouthparts and therefore can’t eat meat (unless it is liquid), 2) I am not a woolly aphid – the prey of the caterpillar, and 3) I am about the size of a small planet when compared to this butterfly. Still, you can never be too careful. The photo above was taken at a safe distance. This sighting also provided county occurrence documentation for the Butterflies and Moths of North America project, which would also benefit from receiving the butterfly photos you take while playing disc golf or other activities.

Another cool thing about this butterfly is by eating woolly aphids it is protecting a plant, the downside is the most likely plant hosting woolly aphids at the Harrison Road course is Smilax, or as it is better known: that evil thorny vine that makes throwing from the low woods so miserable. This butterfly may be the protector of our Smilax, or more likely, just a cool bit a biodiversity making our Harrison Road course just a little more special.