Monstera and bagworm – Casefile #1 (Gardening)

I started taking care of a monstera recently. I wanted an indoor plant and it needed a cozy space to recuperate, so it was a perfect arrangement for both of us. Although its leaves had wilted due to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, the stem is green and healthy. So it is just a matter of time until it recovers.

My new roommate
The new second leaf

Within a week, I noticed new growths in its aerial roots, and today morning the second leaf finally unfurled. The leaf had been damaged at the tip before I brought it in, so I expected the shape to be irregular. But I’m happy that it seems otherwise healthy.

Then I noticed another new rolled-up young leaf at the back, which was exciting, as it was a sign that my monstera was adapting very well to its new home. But then I saw that the tip was damaged as well! It seemed the third leaf shared the same fate as the second. I felt a bit sad.

Rolled-up third leaf – the tip had been damaged
The suspect bagworm – a green thing that looked suspiciously like the missing leaf tip was attached to the bagworm

While wondering what was happening, I noticed a bagworm larva hanging in the leaf! Suspicious… I immediately pulled it off, and saw a wilting leaf tip attached to its ‘bag’…

Well, the mystery was solved. And just to be extra sure, I removed the green thing with forceps and unfurled it, and lo and behold it was indeed the missing leaf tip.

Further investigation confirmed that the bagworm was indeed the criminal. Photo: The missing victim leaf-tip (left) and the criminal (right)

I failed to stop the criminal this time, but I learned that bagworms build their bags using twigs, leaves, plant debris, and self-spun silk.

I guess it makes perfect sense when you inspect the bag’s structure. But I’d never stopped to think about it before. So while I feel bad for my monstera, I really appreciate the bagworm’s ingenuity.


Extra Notes:

A young bagworm larva, around 5 mm in length, on a cucumber leaf, from last week (June 16, 2021),
An adult bagworm larva from last year (November 4, 2020). The bag/case was around 45 mm in length.

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