Of their new growth
Different locations in yard.
Elders only, regardless of very many tender options.
From outside of the bag, wasps ate the caterpillar through the mesh. Little remained when I interrupted them.
Looks like it was whacked off - do lubbers or katydids eat elder foliage? I thought it had some toxicity...?
>"Looks like it was whacked off" ___ I had pruned them. Something that I have done many times to random elders on random occasions. ABOVE leaf petioles or small branches.
Perhaps the leaves and petioles dropped this time. Plants sometimes behave abnormally in reaction to abnormal conditions. Wet ground from multiple saturating rains.
Or the gigantic locust that I found (elsewhere) this morning.
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Did it look like this?
That's a lubber grasshopper, might be your culprit - they eat lots of things - and seem to especially like crinum lilies. When you find them, don't hesitate - murder 'em!
They nymphs look like this:
Thanks. Last year some of those little ones stayed on Senna alata leaves, no damage. Now I will go out and explore a bit.
I saw no eaters of any kind. One lightly, identically munched Ludwigia peruviana, near a recently rooted and planted Plumeria whose few leaves are partially eaten, horizontally. In various places several more Elder, the obvious preference. One adjacent Odontonema strictum (very many nearby untouched).
The "whacked"-looking damage shown in the photos is from munching, not pruning.
Today this leaf prompted a look because my many Clerodendrum paniculatum never get eaten.
Caterpillar not large.
Colors and pattern unlike others that I see in photos.
I think those hornworms are sphinx moth caterpillars...? They sure are good at hiding.
And what great closeup pix - you have a very good camera!
Yesterday I put it and a sprig of tender Elder leaves (stem in water) into a mesh bag.
Today not only are all leaves intact, but also I watched the caterpillar sometimes detour (not devour), sometimes brush past, the leaves as it wandered.
Second phase of the experiment, I replaced Elder with Clerodendrum. Later I went to observe, saw it approach leaf and start eating.
Here's info on Lubbers from the University of FL's Featured Creatures site:
"Defoliation Elders"... oh my... where my mind wandered when I read that!
My elderberry looks exactly like that... up to about 5 feet. I vote deer.