This is how I came to learn that caterpillars, a majority of them, in fact, are picky eaters.
A caterpillar from the swallowtail butterflies feeds upon the leafy parts of the hoptree. (Nina Zitani) The author has provided
Hidden away in the science literature in scientific literature is an intriguing story of the plant-animal co-evolution that started thousands of years ago in the Mesozoic Era. There are numerous outcomes of this co-evolution, like pollination, seed dispersal, and the intimate relationship caterpillars (and other plant-feeders) have with the plants they feed on.
Nowadays, flowering plants release harmful substances in their leaves that keep animals away from eating their leaves. But certain animals, such as caterpillars, have developed the ability to consume plant leaves -in the form of poisonous ones.
If you’re thinking of creating wildlife-friendly habitats in your backyard, then you’ll require the most popular food plants for insects. Insects will flourish in your garden, like the other animals that rely on insects for their food.
What are native plants?
To understand the concept of a native species, take a look at common milkweed as well as its kin, the dog-strangling vine.
Both are part of the family known as the milkweed and are is found present day throughout North America. Common milkweed originates as a species that was introduced to North America thousands of years long ago, alongside other animals, such as monarch butterflies as well as the milkweed moth, the tussock. It is now essential for the existence of these species.
However, dog-strangling vine is non-native plant that originated from Europe which was brought in North America by settlers in the 1800s. Monarch caterpillars, as well as other native milkweed experts which hatch on the dog-strangling plant die due to the fact that they are unable to eat it.
The caterpillar of the monarch butterfly in the plant of milkweed. (Shutterstock)
In addition, the dog-strangling vine is now an invasive species that forms dense colonies that displacing native plants as well as their animals, leading to the loss of biodiversity.
Planting seeds for birds
Birds (and other large creatures) depend on insects. “Nearly all terrestrial birds rear their young on insects, not seeds or berries,” writes Doug Tallamy in his book Bring Nature home.
One way to look at it is that native plants are the ones that maintain natural ecosystem food webs, while non-native plants do not. Native plants are able to draw healthy populations of insects in your garden. They will provide food sources for animals and birds.
There are thousands of native or wild North American pollinator species, comprising approximately 4000 local bees and approximately 700 indigenous butterflies and other pollinating insects like moths, flies, and beetles.
Native plants’ leaves are food caterpillars. Flowers of plants native to the area are a source of foodnectar and pollento the pollinators.
If we look at the complete existence of the insect, the crucial role of native plants becomes evident.