Catawba Worms

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CATAWBA WORMS aka Ceratomia catalpae

It has been many decades since fishing with a Catawba Worm which is the larval stage of the Ceratomia catalpae.  The adult stage is the Catalpa Sphinx which is a Hawk Moth of the Sphingidae family.  Below a pix of one which would not stay still for a pix:

Pix of the rear drive train of the Catawba worm........I believe this one was very camera shy!

Finally got a head shot while he was working his way off the Catawba Tree leaf.  Those suction cup "feet" have plenty of grip too!



The larval stage feed on the leaves of the Catawba tree which is native to North Carolina and up and down the Eastern Seaboard and most ole time fishermen are aware they make outstanding bait for catfish and bluegills aka sun fish.  Pix below of a pair Catawba trees about 1/2 mile from our home and only has a few small Catawba worms on it at the moment:

A close-up view of the leaves and the seed pods.  As youngsters growing up, we referred to this tree as the cigar tree because of the shape of the seed pods.  Can't remember if we ever tried to smoke the dried seed pods or not; probably not since I have never smoked to this date. 

The emerging Catawba Worms start off with a light cream color to them with black markings and as they consume the leaves of the Catawba tree their color changes to a black and chartreuse color pattern.



I observed a couple Catawba trees growing about half a mile from our home and asked the owner Shane Hough if I could obtain some of the worms when they start feeding on the leaves and he gave me a go ahead.  His son Chris called yesterday 06-26-13 and advised that they had a couple smaller trees on their farm in Lilesville, NC and one tree was just about stripped entirely of its leaves from the feeding Catawba worms.

I drove to the Hough Farm this morning and took along a folding step ladder to aid in getting them and sure enough, the Catawba tree was just about bare of any green leaves but there were plenty of Catawba worms in different sizes feeding on what few remaining leaves.  There were Catawba worms on the ground around the tree and they were not doubt getting ready to burrow into the ground to pupate and shed its fifth instar skin.  I left in too big of a hurry and didn't bring the digital camera with me.

I brought along a five gallon plastic bucket and placed a few of the green leaves from another tree that did not have worms on them yet in the bucket and “picked” several dozen of the Catawba worms.  Many fishermen will freeze them for usage at a later time but I personally believe they are better when still alive.  Ole timers will pinch the Catawba worms head off and place a small stick at the opposite end and the turn him outside end and then place on the hook which exposes the white color insides which gives off an attractive odor to lure Mr. Catfish into taking the bait.  View my fishing 2013 page which rendered a "mess" of fish.

It is my plan to fish with them early in the morning at Randy Steele’s farm pond and hopefully the catfish and bluegills will be in a biting mood.  I plan to fish with them inside out as described earlier and fish with them by simply threading them on the hook for comparison.  While typing, I felt something crawling on my right forearm and a very small Catawba worm was observed….grin if you must.  There were hundreds of small Catawba worms all over the tree and on the ground and one had a free ride on myself.

Below is a pix from the Internet of the Catalpa Sphinx which is a Hawk Moth of the Sphingidae family:



It is certainly easy to see why the Catalpa Sphinx is named a Hawk Moth.  Hopefully,  the Catawba worms picked this morning will metamorphosis into some "beautimous" catfish fillets instead of a Hawk Moth and will post pixs on my Fishing 2013 page!

It is totally amazing how God created all the things before us and mankind  with his finite wisdom and current state of the art technology cannot even begin to comprehend the concept of the creation of the earth and mankind except by faith through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.   Our earth and all the elements are far to complex to not have been set into motion by something greater than a random act or chance of evolution over time as many highly educated fools and ones not so book smart want to believe and teach.  Read Genesis Chapter 1 KJV Bible to help awaken the non-believer.

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 06-27-13

CATAWBA WORMS UPDATE

Less than one month has gone by and the Catawba Worms stripped both the above trees down to the stems, consuming all the green portion of the leaves.  However, as soon as the leaves are gone, the Catawba Tree will put out new leaves again which is amazing.  See the pixs below for comparison:

As soon as the Catawba tree leaves reach maturity again, the reproductive cycle will repeat itself with the Catawba worms consuming the leaves; burrowing themselves back into the ground and will do so until late fall of the year until the weather gets too cold. 

Web published updated pixs on 07-25-13 by Bill aka Mickey Porter.

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