Monday, August 31, 2015

Nature's Way of Rebalancing

So, I have a few potted citrus trees on my patio belonging to one of the people I live with, and these citrus trees tend to attract butterflies and caterpillars. In case you didn't know, the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, and the butterfly lays eggs that become caterpillars. It's like the case of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Which came first the caterpillar or the butterfly?

Anyway, these caterpillars are attracted to the citrus plants because they eat their leaves. So, in a sense you could call them pests, that some people perhaps would like to destroy with insecticides. I am not one of those people. As far as I'm concerned the tree will recover. These aren't fruit bearing trees, just purely ornamental. But uh, strangest thing happened last night, I witnessed something that I had never ever before seen. A caterpillar which had been seen crawling across the screened door of the patio, was moved by one of my housemates and placed back unto a branch of citrus earlier that day. Later that day a chrysalis was seen, newly formed in that spot. That's where the caterpillar starts to change into a shape that resembles in a way a seashell, a womb-like habitat suitable for transforming from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Well, anyway, later that night, when I was out on the patio alone having a beer, I noticed that particular chrysalis, which is attached to the tree by what looks like a couple of threads of silk, is squirming back and forth, meaning that it hadn't fully solidified into the chrysalis shell, but was in that intermediary stage of transformation, and was covered with tiny flies of some kind, which appeared to be feeding off of it. And it was completely helpless, trapped, all tied up so to speak, and being eaten alive.

I did remove some of the flies, but the next morning the chrysalis had fallen into the potted plant, and the caterpillar was dead. I noticed that another had also befallen that fate. And I thought, what a gruesome way to die. It reminded  me of like being caught in a spider web and eaten alive. But I never saw this happen to a caterpillar before after it had actually started to change form, getting ready to form into a butterfly. It was like a stillbirth, abortion, or whatever. Just not meant to be, I guess. It was weird.

Well, just had to make a note of it, being a first. I felt a bit sorry for the caterpillar, but I guess the flies have to eat too. After all, we have had an excess of butterflies and caterpillars this season. I guess it's nature's way of re-balancing the population.

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