I found this beautiful green caterpillar on a crape jasmine plant (Tabernaemontana divaricata; nandivardanam in Telugu) in my balcony. He had finished half of the leaves on my plant, and was still eating hungrily. I had always wanted to watch the life cycle of a butterfly/moth. Here was my chance! My friend Kobita had successfully reared this very caterpillar recently, and I thought I’d do it too. If I could pull it off, it would be the best biology lesson for my children, and the other kids in the building.
I put him along with the branch into a bottle with holes on the lid. We named him Bakasura… the rate at which he was eating inspired the name! There was a steady input/output, actually… he ate from one side and expelled seed-like black droppings from the other, sometimes simultaneously! (I had earlier sowed these droppings, thinking they were seeds!) This went on for one whole day.
Sadhana Ramchander is writer and editor with BluePencil Infodesign, Hyderabad. She can be reached at [email protected].