Critters in the Trees

I don’t post as many bugs and critters as I used to, but occasionally one still catches my eye. We have a plumeria tree that has gotten quite large and drops fragrant flowers for us. Yesterday I noticed a number of colorful caterpillars eating it.

Can you spot them? They are yellow and black striped with red heads and tails. Look in the shadows on the undersides of the branches.

That was yesterday, a fairly cloudy day. Today is  bright sunshine and it’s much easier to see them. The red flowers are the neighbor’s beautiful bougainvillea that hangs over our fence.

I know they are working hard to eat all the leaves off our plumeria, but it’s a large tree and I think it will survive. These are caterpillars of the tetrio sphinx moth, which I think is a really cool moth. One landed on me when we were playing our last gig in Boquete and stayed nearby for the rest of the set. Maybe it was telling me to be kind to its little brothers and sisters. We rescued branches of this plumeria when it was cut down nearby, and now we have three others flowering and thriving, just in case.

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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4 Responses to Critters in the Trees

  1. chugwa says:

    Another great write up Kris and the photos a are very good. You had me going when you mentioned the name of the tree, I knew the tree but not by that name, we called it Frangipani.


  2. Anonymous says:

    The monarch butterflies look similar, but they do not eat my plumeria, although they do destroy my milkweed which always survives. Thanks for posting photo and putting a name to it.


    • You’re right! I have a friend in FL who raises monarch butterflies and I remember the caterpillars are striped like that. I’ve never seen these before though, even though we had lots of plumeria in FL.


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