Who's Been Eating My . . .

I’ve developed a great deal of empathy for Papa Bear and his question, “Who’s been eating my soup?” Except it wasn’t soup, it was my passiflora incarnate – aka maypop – aka passion flower. I concur with Baby Bear that “She ate it all up!”

Two years ago, I bought and trained three small maypop plants on the lattice to bring summer shade on the carport, to relish the beautiful flowers, and to bring memories of stomping the ripened fruit we found growing wild when I was a kid (hence “maypop”). Last summer, it accomplished its assigned task nicely, and a thirteen-month-old grandson helped with the popping in December. This summer, it’s outdone itself with lush green vines and multitudes of blossoms.

Imagine my chagrin when we returned from our morning walk (much like those bears) a week or so ago and discovered stems stripped bare of their leaves! The culprit was not nearly as hard to find as Goldilocks. He (She? It?) stretched out on the twig in all its orange glory, its black spines daring me to touch. I could swear I heard him-her-it burp!

Not only has it joined its many relatives to devour my maypop leaves, they have stolen my time. I keep watching their progress from yellow eggs the size of a period made by a ball point pen to  tiny black spiky strings to fat orange worms looking for a spot to literally hang out. Sticking its tail to a vine or a slat of the trellis, it forms a J before pupating. Then I wait. I watch butterflies emerge, hang on long enough to dry their wings, and sometimes engage in a little hanky-panky.  

All is forgiven as I watch a crowd of agraulis vanilla – aka gulf fritillaries – aka passion butterflies scamper around the yard feeding on lantana and Mexican petunias. Like Baby Bear when he discovered Goldilocks, I cry, “There they are!”

My new question is, “Who’s been eating my butterfly?” Caught in the act with my surveillance camera before he fled into the vines, the anole has been hard to locate and bring to justice with coloring that matches the maypop leaves. I’m guessing he will live his life on the lam and without apology.