These are sawfly larvae. We came across them on a Sunday stroll at the Arboretum and I was so distracted by what they could be –moths? butterflies? disgusting things from outer space?– that I didn’t even bother to notice what kind of leaf they were supping on (for ID purposes).
I came to find out what kind of larvae these were by submitting this picture to a bug identification site called bugguide.net –a site I highly recommend if you need some sort of bug identified.
I’m not sure what I want to accomplish here. I had very definite plans to write about keeping an open mind about the natural world, and about how being green is not so much about the items that you can buy to make yourself greener, but to realize what the impact of your actions is on your immediate environment; for instance, there was a daddy with his little girl at the Arboretum as well, and her daddy was just letting her rip and destroy all the beautiful foliage.
There they were, surrounded by these lovely breezes under a pergola, and there went the little girl, first shaking a long limb of a wisteria and then randomly ripping the flowering heads off nearby plants. The dad just sat around pretending to care to listen to the answer of his “What are you doing, sweetie?” but largely ignoring the botanic carnage that lay all about him.
You may be shrugging and not interested in this story, except that if some three-year-old girl is not taught by her father that these plants and this Arboretum are things to be respected and treasured because they teach us about plants and our relationship with them and about the future; but instead does more damage to a bush than all the sawfly larvae money could never buy, then how is she expected to understand or care whether growing a Victory garden or installing solar panels in her house or how installing a compact fluorescent lightbulb will save her money and make her feel good inside and feel like she is part of the solution?
I don’t know and I don’t have a solution, myself. But if that little girl EVER gets within an inch of any of my plants, she’d better be wearing head-to-toe armor.