Glass Winged butterfly Drone Flies
Robber Fly Oxybellis
Oriental Praying Mantis Crab Spiders
"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord
of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS."
To my dear grandchildren,
Hide-and-Seek in Nature (Part 2)
"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed;
For the Lord thy God is with thee."
In the last issue, examples of some insects' abilities to hide from enemies by their camouflage were described. We could never include all of them, but here are a few more.
Many large moths have "painted" eyes on their back wings that frighten birds away, while others look just like the bark of the trees on which on which they rest. A butterfly, known as the glass-winged butterfly, is so transparent that a predator sees only the flower or leaf that this butterfly is resting on.
Drone flies buzz and look so much like bees they even fool the members of a beehive, while the robber fly, also looking like a bumblebee, is avoided by the birds.
In South America, a four-foot snake with a thick body, the oxybellis, is coloured like the vines around which it climbs. If frightened, it "freezes" even if part of it hangs away from the vine. If a breeze stirs the vine, the snake sways its entire body to match the vine's movements.
Instead of spinning a web to catch insects, the crab-spider catches them on the petals of flowers where it is overlooked because its colour matches the flower's - white, black, red or pink. The Oriental praying mantis does something similar. With colorful legs held upright while sitting in a bush, it fools and traps insects that think it is a flower petal.
A fly in Arizona has transparent wings, except for three heavy black stripes across each side. At rest with wings partly open, the stripes, seen from the back, look like the legs of a huge spider. Also on the back of its orange body are spots that look like huge black eyes. Predators that would go after a fly, seeing what looks like a fierce spider, leave it alone.
Most of us have noticed that caterpillars and small worms on flowers or plants turn the same colour as what they are eating, making it very difficult to spot them even up close. Some caterpillars eat 27,000 times their body weight before becoming an adult.
Many poisonous or distasteful insects are coloured bright red and black. These don't need camouflage because birds learn to leave them alone. Many harmless insects have similar colouring, and birds avoid them as well.
All this is a reminder of the wonders of God's creation. None of these creatures is aware that it has these markings, but God-given instincts enable them to use them as they do. Mankind does not need such devices, as God has given us intelligence to avoid our enemies. The knowledge of His love and care should cause us to give Him our thanks, as expressed in the Bible verse: "Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for His mercy endureth forever" (Jeremiah 33:11).
In the NEXT issue we will review some creatures besides insects that benefit by God-given disguises.
Love you all,