We've lost another caterpillar since the last update a week ago, so we've got 11 at present. It was one of the smallest and it may have been a casualty of one of its siblings, since I've seen them biting each other on occasion. They don't move very fast in general, but when one bites the other, they rear back their head pretty fast!
Lots of changes going on now. They're developing spots on the sides and a coat of fine hairs. Also, the head and rear are prominent and have developed spots as well.
Their appetites are amazing. In a day's time, these 11 caterpillars will eat nine large sweet gum leaves! That's nearly one leaf each per day. We gave them a maple leaf just to see if they'd eat something different, since I'd read that once they start on one type, they don't change. Well, they will, because in the morning, the maple leaf was gone.
Eating that much means lots of poop. Okay, so the PC word is "frass." But it's still poop. (Besides which, poop is a multi-functional word, being a verb as well as a noun. Caterpillars don't frass.) I clean the bowl twice a day because I figure it can't be good breathing the fumes from all that poop and I've seen them trying to eat it. ICK.
The largest one is now over two inches long. It's amazing to me that just three weeks ago, they were a mere 2 mm in length.
There are likely other caterpillars outside, because Romie found another female (dead) laying in the neighbor's yard a couple of days ago. Amazing that we've never seen these before in our lives, then we see two within a month!
Previous posts about the Imperial Moths: