Do You Enjoy the Little Creatures?
MANY do not. And I was one of those many until I began to observe these little creatures more closely. Please consider a few things that I learned regarding three of them.
The Japanese Weevil
During May a Japanese weevil selects a suitable young leaf, such as one from the oak family. First, it snips through the veins of the leaf near its base. Because the sap supply is cut off, the leaf wilts. Now the leaf needs to be folded.
If you have ever attempted to fold leaves to wrap food attractively, you know how difficult it is to do it neatly. Yet, this tiny insect, less than one-fifth-inch [5 mm] long, has mastered how to do it. Using all six legs and her jaws, she folds the leaf lengthwise and then, starting from the tip, begins rolling it. Partway up, she stops to lay an egg in the folds of the leaf before completing the rolling. Cleverly, she pushes the leaf edges into the middle of the rolled tube so that the leaf does not unwind.
When the egg hatches, the baby is sheltered and surrounded by plenty of fresh food. The tightly packed leaf will stay fresh inside just as the inside of a cut cabbage or lettuce head lasts longer than the outside. Thanks to the preparations of its gifted mother, the baby will be provided for until it makes its debut into the outside world three to four weeks later.
A Beautiful Butterfly
Now, look at the eggs of Japan’s national butterfly, the Great Purple! Even they are pretty! From the end of July through mid-August, they can be found on leaves and branches. Laid in batches of 20 to 200, each egg is just 0.06 inch in diameter [1.5 mm]. In six to eight days, the eggs hatch. The larva chews around the top of the egg, climbs out, and eats its own eggshell. Quite a tidy little creature!
For the next three to four months, the larva eats, sleeps, and repeatedly discards its skin. In November it hides in the fallen leaves at the base of a tree and falls into a deep sleep. It wakes up around the beginning of May, sheds its brown winter skin, and continues eating, this time on a grander scale. Soon, it becomes a chrysalis, or pupa. Its excellent camouflage affords protection so that predators see it as just another leaf blowing in the breeze.
By this time, the insect has been alive over ten months. Around the end of June, the skin of the pupa breaks open, and a beautiful butterfly emerges. Its wingspan measures up to 4.3 inches [11 cm]. Since it has only about 40 days left to live, it reaches its peak in beauty at the end of its life.
An Industrious Bee
Bees of the leaf-cutter family take considerable time to locate just the right place to build nests. It could be a niche in a stone, a hollow in a piece of wood like bamboo, or a burrow in the ground.
Having selected the location, a bee begins her search for suitable leaves from which she cuts neat oval shapes. She folds each one in half and takes it back to the chosen location. Collecting sufficient leaves often involves from 20 to 30 trips.
Over the next two days, she collects nectar and pollen, which she brings back and unloads. When she has stored enough food to see her baby through to adulthood, she lays her egg. Not content until she has tucked her egg safely in, this conscientious mother bee now goes off to cut perfect circles out of leaves. With a few of these, she seals in her precious egg. When the larva hatches, it will enjoy the balanced diet of nectar (carbohydrate) and pollen (protein) provided by its hardworking mother.
After contemplating a few insects, I realized that even a little knowledge can remove a lot of prejudice against the Grand Designer and Life-Giver of such little creatures—his name is Jehovah. Maybe you too could take time to enjoy the little creatures. They are everywhere.