Author Topic: What Eats Papaya Leaves?  (Read 746 times)

roblack

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What Eats Papaya Leaves?
« on: December 01, 2023, 10:42:03 AM »
Noticed significant damage to several papaya plants; something is munching hard. Wondering what might be doing this, any ideas?










...I'm thinking iguana, but have never seen them eating papaya leafs, and the leaf stems don't seem damaged from the likes of a heavy lizard. They are notorious devourers of passion flowers, and are unwelcome in these parts for that alone. Time for a recon mission with the drones, see what's lurking up there.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2023, 08:16:22 PM by roblack »

FloridaManDan

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2023, 10:49:43 AM »
Fairly certain it's iguanas Rob.
I had the EXACT same damage on my smaller papayas and mulberries at opposite ends of my yard. Finally caught them one morning -- 2 baby lizardrats hanging out on a pencil-thin strawberry tree (they figured out what could support their weight) and casually eating the adjacent plant leaves. Sent them to a farm up north for unlimited leaf buffet...

Aside from that ^ the only thing that worked for me was elevating the plants on a stand that they can't climb or jump onto. That papaya is definitely sturdy enough to support their weight, at least the smaller ones.



roblack

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2023, 11:05:58 AM »
Hey Dan! Thanks for your insights and validation. They are certainly here, in various sizes. Adding to my problem, my yard has trees packed in, with some taller trees, and canopies touching. The iguanas come down from above, so blocking their ascent won't help much at all.

I see raptors daily in my yard. Hawks, kestrels, owls, and buzzards; even an occasional osprey stops by. Hope they tell their friends, it's "all you can eat" over here for them too.

Gonna work on my iguana trapping teks. Any suggestions are appreciated. 

Epicatt2

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2023, 01:15:47 PM »
While you don't want continued leaf/plant damage, if you can wait 'til a nice cold snap comes along –one when the iguanas tend to fall out of the trees– then you could plan to police your area for the fallen of same said before the day warms up. (The smaller ones should be more susceptible to the cold.)

But eliminating them from your yard isn't a permanent soution but rather a stopgap one, because like with squirrels, nature abhors a vacuum and next season you'll surely have some new iguanas moving back into the now 'unclaimed territory' that you will have ccreated.

OK — HTH

Paul M.
==

roblack

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2023, 03:20:26 PM »
While you don't want continued leaf/plant damage, if you can wait 'til a nice cold snap comes along –one when the iguanas tend to fall out of the trees– then you could plan to police your area for the fallen of same said before the day warms up. (The smaller ones should be more susceptible to the cold.)

But eliminating them from your yard isn't a permanent soution but rather a stopgap one, because like with squirrels, nature abhors a vacuum and next season you'll surely have some new iguanas moving back into the now 'unclaimed territory' that you will have ccreated.

OK — HTH

Paul M.
==

Thank you, that's a great idea and will hopefully work for at least a few. It's so thick up in some of these trees, they wouldn't fall all the way down unless perched on a lower branch. Going to try traps baited with papaya, mango, and hibiscus.

Have caught a few, when they get around the pool. The trick is to chase them into the pool. Then, follow them until they come up for air, and grab behind the head (and base of the tail) asap. Helps if you have something ready to put them in. Otherwise, you gotta an angry green clawed demon thrashing and whipping you, and no plan.

mangaba

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2023, 03:46:52 PM »
Noticed significant damage to several papaya plants; something is munching hard. Wondering what might be doing this, any ideas?





I have a similar case as yours. In my case the agent is Cutter Ants.  At night they leave their holes sometimes 100-200 meters away and in an army, climb the papaya tree and cut the leaves which fall down and make a green carpet. When daylight dawns they return to their hole. The following night they cut the leaves in small pieces and carry it to the holes. The cut leaves serves as a substrate for culture of a fungus on which the ants feed.

...I'm thinking iguana, but have never seen them eating papaya leafs, and the leaf stems don't seem damaged from the likes of a heavy lizard. They are notorious devourers of passion flowers, and are unwelcome in these parts for that alone. Time for a recon mission with the drones, see what's lurking up there.

MadFarm

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2023, 06:30:12 AM »
I have massive brown hornworm looking caterpillars that show up sporadically and eat younger papaya leaves. Looks just like your leaves.

Muni

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2023, 07:26:03 AM »
Allow yourself to know, if you wish, that this is a multi dimensional communication.
See what happens.

roblack

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2023, 08:24:28 AM »
Great video Muni! Thanks for posting that. We have papaya and passionflower infused iguanas reading for eating, along with mango infused squirrels. Rats might have a touch of banana flavor, lol.

Hornworms are another possibility MadFarm, I agree. Have seen them out here before, but it's been a while since I spied one.

johnb51

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2023, 02:04:15 PM »
Most definitely iguanas!  Let me share what's working for me so far, but one of these days the iguanas might figure things out!  I cut the bottoms from 15-gallon plastic pots and planted the papayas inside of them.



« Last Edit: December 11, 2023, 12:18:23 PM by johnb51 »
John

Rajski15

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2023, 08:55:09 PM »
Very likely that is the work of a "Papaya Hornworm".
They get huge if not removed, a single one can eat a ton of green, difficult to see and probably gone before you notice.

foresight

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2023, 04:34:54 PM »
Probably not the case here but grasshoppers seem to like papaya leaves and the damage looks somewhat similar after they've finished. I've had single grasshoppers eat entire leaves in the span of only a few hours.

roblack

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2023, 06:16:01 PM »
Probably have both hornworms and giant grasshoppers munching on papaya leafs, which then become like papaya salad wraps with worms and hoppers for these fat iguanas. Thinking of trying one myself.

roblack

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leafs?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2023, 06:29:56 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt-HNHTOjcM

Does anyone know if the leaves they were using in the video to wrap fish is piper auritum (Hoja Santa)? If not, what are they?

roblack

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leaves?
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2023, 07:14:45 PM »
Update ya'll! We were all wrong. The real culprit is....




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MadFarm

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Re: What Eats Papaya Leaves?
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2023, 12:17:44 AM »
That is wild. I've caught them testing papaya fruit for ripeness but wouldn't imagine them ever eating the leaves.

 

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