4. Notes on the Vegetable Caterpillar.
During a recent visit to Riverton I raided a patch of the well-known vegetable caterpillar. This patch I have known of for some years, and have on several occasions drawn on it for specimens for friends. The patch of bush where they occur is but small, and the more open spaces have been depleted, but amongst the stems and roots of shrubs and creepers a fair number of the spore-bearing spikes appear.
Digging had to be carefully carried out, as carelessness or rough handling caused breakage and spoilt the specimen; indeed, it was impossible to dig up any particular specimen without running the risk of breaking some other near by. The special point I wish to place on record is that fragments from specimens accidentally broken and again buried during some previous search had sent out healthy spore-bearing spikes. Several of these fragments were less than 1 in. in length, while one of about 2 in. (being the tail half) had grown two fair-sized spikes
Along with the fungi I took an apparently healthy larva of Porina dinodes, and, so far as I could see, all the vegetable caterpillars there were those of this moth. The largest specimen I took was 5 in., but I have never seen a living dinodes larva of this length, and suppose that the fungus growth distends the skin of its-host.