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Old 08-08-2010, 05:29 PM   #1
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Default what is eating my amaranthus?

Hi, y'all. Suunto, this is probably up to you. I believe the plant is amaranthus caudatus, love-lies-bleeding, but I didn't plant it and am open to other opinions on its id. It was happy three or four days ago, and today I noticed it was well-chewed. The culprits are in the photos.

They look to me like they are in the skipper family, but they aren't in my Wagner field guide. I have a bunch of Southern Cloudywings flying about and can't find a photo of their caterpillar, so that is one of my possiblities. I have a bunch of other skippers who don't like to pose for photos and I haven't ID'd them.. What do you think?

I have put a couple into a container to raise them, that being the definitive way to id them.

It didn't like the size of my photos, so I'm going to submit the other two in a second post. Thanks for all your help.
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what is eating my amaranthus?-p1010112.jpg   what is eating my amaranthus?-p1010120.jpg  
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:34 PM   #2
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Default more photos

Here is one more shot of the wee beasties, and a close up of the plant. If you think I'm wrong about what the plant is, just let me know. I'm still learning to id them all. Thanks.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turttle View Post
Here is one more shot of the wee beasties, and a close up of the plant. If you think I'm wrong about what the plant is, just let me know. I'm still learning to id them all. Thanks.
The images are too small for me to be certain; I'm not even sure that they are caterpillars - some of those in the family Lycaenidae (see http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.co...a/biocell1.jpg for an example) can resemble the larvae of leaf beetles.
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:10 PM   #4
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They are really small critters, only about half a centimeter, which is why the photo is small. They could be larval leaf beetles - the shape looks a lot like your photo, but they are solid off-white/light grey. They don't have obvious prolegs, but I hadn't made that connection.

I'll give them a few days and lots of food to get bigger and take a few more photos. The obvious answer will be to see what they metamorphose into.
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Old 08-11-2010, 12:52 AM   #5
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"what is eating my amaranthus?" What ever's eating it thank it.... I'm pretty sure you got the id right and another common name for it is tassel weed. That one's naturalizing, PLANTS Profile for Amaranthus caudatus (love-lies-bleeding) | USDA PLANTS. Running to duck for cover. Not really since you already said you didn't plant it.
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:48 AM   #6
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I think it is kind of pretty, nicer than the other amaranthus/pigweed I have. I only have the two plants of it. Sometimes the line between weed and native perennial is pretty fine on my property - with two acres, and just me gardening, most areas get to do their own thing unless full of nasty invasives.

Whatever the critters are, they have pupated, so we shouldn't have long to wait. I think Suunto was right that they are leaf beetle larva of some kind, so we'll see.
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amaranthus, bug id, bug identification, caterpillars, eating, insect, insect id, insect identification, larva, larval, larval food source, larval leaf beetles, pupate, pupated

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