Mark Walker MWalker at
Mon Nov 2 11:09:56 EST 1998

Liz wrote:

> ps - I **FINALLY** got rid of my last living lep stock.  Foisted them off
> on a friend who is gonna try to re-over-winter them.  What a relief this
> is!  Now all I have are zillions of houseplants and the bird.  Those
> caterpillars sure were cute and pettable.... but now I can drive around
> town without looking at each tree to see if it's a species I need leaves
> of and if they're near the ground and if the owners might notice.  I
> discovered the very best sweetgum trees in the whole city grow in the
> parking lot at the governor's mansion.  I bet no one else was parking
> there for the same reason I was.....  :-)
I can totally relate to this sense of relief.  A few years ago, I was
sustaining a nice population of Papilio multicaudata larvae (Two-tailed
Swallowtail).  Although the caterpillars have been known to feed on a wide
variety of plants in the cherry family, I was concerned that they would not
take well to any of the various domestic plants found in the L.A. basin
(which turned out to be very true).  So, instead, I would drive two hours to
pick stalks from the choke cherry plants that grow in this beautiful
butterfly's natural habitat in northern L.A. county.  The brood extended for
over a month, so it was not unusual for me to find new ova on the cuttings.
So for about a month and a half, I beat the heck out of my car trying to
keep up with their healthy appetites (providing them with fresh food every
few days or so).  The round trip was about four hours.

Talk about a sense of peace when the last one had pupated.  Some of us out
here are much more suited for scrambling, hiking, sweating, swinging,
digging, and turning over rocks than for rearing offspring.  Just talk to my
children about that...

Mark Walker
in Cambridge, MA this week 

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