Caterpillar Eating Sage

I have a very interesting case of one caterpillar eating sage.  I am growing lettuce and the herb sage in the house for the winter.  The lettuce had lots of caterpillars eating it so I put it back outside.  I have never seen a caterpillar on the sage.  I figured it was not their taste—too strong and distinctive.

A Fat Green Caterpillar Eating Sage Was the Culprit

Sage Leaves Disappeared--All Chomped OffOne day I was watering the sage and noticed that a lot of leaves were missing as if they had been chomped off.  See the severed stems in the picture to the left. After close examination I found a fat green caterpillar-very plump from all the sage he had eaten.  I immediately plucked him and the leaf and threw them in the trash.  I wanted to preserve the sage for my own culinary use.  In terms of bugs in the garden I am quite ruthless figuring that this is part of the “circle of life.”

The next day my daughter was walking down our hallway and shrieked: “Oh my goodness!  Look at this!  Didn’t you put this caterpillar in the trash yesterday???

There was the caterpillar crawling down the hallway about 5 feet from the trash can.  He had crawled all the way out of the trash can and apparently was looking for some plants to eat.

Caterpillar Eating SageI just found this so amazing that I put him back onto a sage plant.  After all that valiant effort I couldn’t plop him back into the trash.  The caterpillar was making every effort to get back to a plant.  He was putting in his best effort to find some more food.  Crawling out of the trash can and down the hallway looking for something to eat or so I thought.

After a short time on the leaf he crawled under it and started to enclose himself in a cocoon.  He wasn’t looking for food.  He was looking for a place to start his next stage of life.  And he put in a lot of effort—he didn’t just give up and die in the trash can.  Nature can be so amazing—who could imagine that the caterpillar would get out of the trash can!  I am watching his cocoon to see what he emerges as.

I found a discussion about inchworms on sage–once you click on the link just scroll down a bit to get to the part about the sage.  There is a picture of a cocoon under a sage leaf that looks exactly like the cocoon on my sage! And as I think about it the picture above does look like an inchworm–just a very fat one!

For the end of this story see what emerged from this chrysalis!