Insect and Bug ID forum: Is this seeds or caterpillar poop?

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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 1, 2014 6:40 PM CST
Seeds? or caterpillar poop? or something else?
Thumb of 2014-08-02/greene/53ed70

There were about 18 - 22 of these all in an area about 2 feet square, on top of the sandy soil. There were no plants nearby that could have dropped seeds.
I am thinking there may have been a caterpillar (or other insect-y thing) on the oak tree branch, too high up for my eyes, which overhangs the spot where these were found.

The color is a little off but they look similar to the color of alfalfa pellets for rabbits.

Edit:
Identified as the frass (excrement) of the Orange-striped Oakworm - Anisota senatoria.


Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
[Last edited by greene - Aug 2, 2014 6:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Aug 2, 2014 7:26 AM CST
Sure looks to be excrement from an insect, possibly a hornworm or caterpillar.
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Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Aug 2, 2014 11:56 AM CST
If you look at each of the 'objects' you will see they are quite uniform with longitudinal sections, all seeming to meet in the middle at the ends of the barrel shape. I think this suggests they are not caterpillar dung, so we have to look at possibilities.

It would be unusual for a group of seeds to be in a place where there are no plants.

The most likely answer is as you suggest, something which has come off the oak tree from above. What that something is, is the question.

The structure does look like something excreted, but as said the form is too uniform. It might help if we knew what sort of Oak tree it is, there are all manner of galls which are made by various insects, often wasps, although these don't look like a typical gall I don't think there is any such thing as a typical gall.

The other alternative is they could be some sort of vegetative material from the tree, I know the oak tree I have sheds catkins.

Maybe you could try breaking one up to get a better idea?

Looking at the one on the left, I can see there is 6 equal segments joining at the end. Looking at the one on the right, it looks to be open at the other end.
[Last edited by JRsbugs - Aug 2, 2014 12:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Aug 2, 2014 12:28 PM CST
This 'could' be a clue, I found an Alder which has male and female catkins, the female ones develop into cones. Is there an Oak which does the same?

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/1945_world_war_two.htm

That I realise sounds like a stupid question, an oak tree makes acorns usually! The question is, are there types of oak which make a different reproductive nut?
[Last edited by JRsbugs - Aug 2, 2014 12:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Aug 2, 2014 3:18 PM CST
Greene has found the answer, it is frass from the Orange-striped oakworm (Anisota senatoria)!

I found some photos which show they can make geometrically perfect droppings! Hilarious!

http://web.ncsu.edu/abstract/science/hm-caterpillars/

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/greg-dodge/2012/07/27/oakwor...

http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Anisota-senatoria
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 2, 2014 3:50 PM CST
Thank you Janet. You are the greatest. Hurray! Thumbs up

I will now move the two chairs from under the oak tree and find somewhere else to sit in the shade,
perhaps in a frass-free zone in my yard.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Aug 2, 2014 4:15 PM CST
Wow, geometrically perfect droppings. What'll they think of next? Hilarious! Hilarious!
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
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JRsbugs
Aug 2, 2014 5:10 PM CST
You found it Greene, congratulations. Thumbs up

It's all about empowerment, and knowing how to go about identifying something is the beginning of success.

My aim is to help the process, it becomes enormously satisfying when you get results.

Keep one of those chairs handy Greene, and put your outside light on at night when it's good weather so you can stand on the chair to take photos when the moths turn up. Believe me, there is nothing more satisfying than standing on a chair watching moths turn up on a balmy warm night while they flit up the wall or bomb you in their excitement. Hilarious!

Odd thing isn't it Ann, the mind boggles as to what shape it requires to extrude such shapes. A toothpaste tube comes to mind, one of those which make the stripes as it comes out but without the stripes. Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Aug 2, 2014 5:16 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing nodding
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Aug 2, 2014 5:32 PM CST
This leads me to the question....why? Why is the frass geometrically perfect? There has to be a reason; nature seldom does anything without a reason.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
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JRsbugs
Aug 2, 2014 5:37 PM CST
Aha! The thought comes to mind that in order for the caterpillars not to be noticed, it has to camouflage it's droppings. They might resemble something else which is not palatable!
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Aug 2, 2014 5:43 PM CST
But what would that non palatable thing be?

I'm forever asking why or what. Hilarious! One answer always leads to a question. It's a vicious circle.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
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JRsbugs
Aug 2, 2014 6:16 PM CST
Now there's a project for you Ann, I will be waiting to see what you can come up with. Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Aug 2, 2014 6:27 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Aug 3, 2014 2:03 PM CST
Maybe the answer is simply : more comfortable , something square coming out of a round tube has to hurt Blinking
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Aug 3, 2014 4:04 PM CST
I found a link that explained that since the oak leaves have so few nutrients the caterpillars digestive tract utilizes the available nutrients ....blah, blah, blah...I got bored and stopped reading. There is some reason for the poop - oops, the frass - to be shaped that way and it has to do with the caterpillars getting their vitamins and minerals.

Either that or caterpillars have a well-developed sense of humor; are up in the oak branches laughing at the humans below who are looking confused.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Aug 3, 2014 5:44 PM CST
You always manage to crack me up greene. Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Aug 3, 2014 8:58 PM CST
gardengus said:Maybe the answer is simply : more comfortable , something square coming out of a round tube has to hurt Blinking


When you think about it (in a weird sort of way) caterpillars ARE kind of like a tube of toothpaste.... Big Grin
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
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JRsbugs
Aug 4, 2014 3:59 AM CST
greene said:Either that or caterpillars have a well-developed sense of humor; are up in the oak branches laughing at the humans below who are looking confused.


I vote for that reason! Rolling on the floor laughing

Do you have the link where you found about their eating and excreting habits Greene?
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Aug 4, 2014 5:41 AM CST
I am looking for it. Forgot to bookmark it.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"

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