it began raining before light. This is early, and one of the single brief spaces of Sun in the day. Those spaces lasted less than 5 minutes and the rain resumed. It's wet.
in that short span of time i looked and yes, They're gone. OR, gone from where they were on the branches. Tracy and her husband found them.
Datana ministra. I googled and yup...the most telling clue was "When disturbed, the larva lift their head and tail in a distinctive U shape". Yup. Them. it goes on to say "once mature, they drop to the soil and pupate at depths of 2-4 inches for the winter.
so this is where they dropped TO....after all that concentrated consumption. This Oasis in the Back is a Universe unto itself. I have NO clue what all goes on in there, but know it to be a Lot. And so they fell, from the branches, fat caterpillars, into these grasses....they would need to somehow need to fall even further, Into the grasses and weeds, down down down to the earth. So much could happen in this last part of their journey. So many hungry beings on the way. I thought/think about that all day. How many will complete the pupating stage? Probably not a lot. So i learned to kindly watch their necessity of leaf eating. It's ok. really, 8 branches. A fair share. In this last pic you can see how the Side Oat Gramma is going to seed. If i could, i would go in there and pull out the huge Kochia to feed the Goats but i can't. There is a nest of the Paper Wasps somewhere. And i have been well taught to keep my distance. Interestingly enough, Paper Wasps feed on caterpillars. And so it goes.
The day tho was this. Emptying and hosing out feed bowls in the brief moments of no rain. A lot of feed wasted.
and then...at the very end of the day, the Dark broke and for the last hour or two, there is Sun.
the Grasses came today.