arum lily caterpillar experiment 1sm

The beautiful Common Striped Hawk moth (Hippotion eson) eats our local arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica), but refused a range of common, exotic garden plants of the same family (Araceae – below).

arum lily caterpillar experiment 2sm

So what?

Well, this was a little experiment in my own garden, that illustrates (1) what fussy eaters plant-eating insects are, (2) why exotic (non-native) garden plants always look so perfect (they don’t get eaten), (3) therefore, why they hardly contribute to the food chain, and (4) why, if you truly love nature, you should plant indigenous plants.

The full article is part of a collection of opinion pieces on “empowering cities to plan for a positive natural future” recently published The Nature of Cities.