Who has been munching on my Carolina Reaper ?

by Ellie
(Cape Town)

This bug has a taste for the hottest chili in the world, the Carolina Reaper

This bug has a taste for the hottest chili in the world, the Carolina Reaper

Dear Caroline


Today I found this severely chewed leaf on my Carolina Reaper, the hottest chili in the world. Which insect could have done this, and why do they love the hottest peppers, doesn't the burning sensation repel these bugs ?

Ellie

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Apr 27, 2017
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could it be a snail ?
by: Caroline

Hi Ellie

My sympathies !

I had a good look at your photograph, which is quite crisp by the way. Well done ! I can see heart shaped holes, as if the animal bent left and ate in a curved path, and then bent the other way with a large flexible head and ate out another curve. It could be a caterpillar, yet the shape of these curves reminds me very much of a snail's head shape. The tip of its retractable front end is equipped with a radula, or combed and toothed tongue, which it comes out of its mouth (like ours, but the snails are not being intentionally rude...I think) and which it uses to rasps away at leaves like a sort of biological chainsaw... I posted some pictures of the radula and typical snail eating patterns very like your own problem on the chili leaf, on pinterest at

https://za.pinterest.com/ckloppert/garden-denizens-insects-fungi-and-more
so that you can compare. If you examine the holes with a lens or two pairs of reading glasses, does the edge of the hole look as if it has been sawn off with a miniscule set of very sharp teeth, making it slightly toothed itself ? Have a look around the plant and see if you can find the culprit skulking in a hidy hole till it gets dark.

And thank you for putting knowledge before raw power and not zapping the whole plant with chemicals !

my respect

Caroline

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