I stared at the green caterpillar for a long time.
I know that the harmony that exists in my garden is fragile and ever-changing. I don't want the balance to get skewed. Was this a potential threat?
Then I heard the back door open, and close. I looked over the plants toward the house. "Is this a tomato hornworm?", I called.
"Where are you?"
I was behind the rose garden. "Is this a tomato hornworm?", I asked again. I repeated the question so Mr. Holleygarden would come look. I knew the mere mention of a potentially harmful creature to our garden would make him venture all the way behind the rose garden to take a peek.
Not that I expected him to know if it was a tomato hornworm or not. We are not the most expert in bugs and creatures.
"See that little horn?"
"Yes, I see it", he said. "Maybe you should just go ahead and kill it now."
Whoa! "But it's on a honeysuckle, not a tomato!"
"Perhaps it's a Luna moth caterpillar. Let's go look it up."
Whew! We were back in harmony. Together we returned to the house, eager to get online and look up images of a green caterpillar with a horn and spots.
And we found it.
It's the caterpillar of a hummingbird moth.
I also found out that the hummingbird moths we have been seeing are the Snowberry Clearwing hummingbird moths, or Hemaris diffinis. The caterpillars eat - you guessed it - honeysuckle, and you can tell the snowberry clearwings by their black legs and the black line across their face.
This caterpillar, thankfully, was no threat to our garden's natural harmony. Eventually it will form a black pupa, disguised by leaf litter. We were both so thrilled! First, because it wasn't a tomato hornworm. And secondly, because we have loved seeing these beautiful and interesting creatures flying around the garden.
Gardeners can talk for hours about fascinating subjects like this!
I'm linking in with Donna at Garden Walk Garden Talk for her Word 4 Wednesday meme on Harmony.