Sunday, June 18, 2017

Jewel # 287 (June 14, 2017)

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“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I
make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren

The Water Strider

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, 
that bringeth out their host by number.”
(Isaiah 40:26)

Springtime has come: the snow and ice over the pond have melted and their are new signs of life. An amazing variety of creatures rise to the surface, having come from the muddy bottom or from stems of plants, as well as from under rocks, roots and water-soaked logs.  Along with frogs, snails and salamanders, there are a number of small insects such as sow bugs, beetles and nymphs stirring about on the bottom.

Included in this awakening in freshwater lakes and ponds of Canada and the United States are numbers of water striders, also known as water skippers or skaters, which live on the surface of the pond.  If placed on your open palm, a full-grown strider with its thin, wire-like legs extended would just about cover it.

These are interesting insects to watch as they “skate” on the surface of the pond.  And they are beneficial insects because they eat other insects, including mosquito larvae.  They also eat spiders.

They are usually found in large groups, quickly scattering in all directions when threatened and coming together again when the danger is past.  When one of these is seen skimming over the water, it appears to be mostly legs, since each leg is about twice as long as its body.

But it is these long, thin, spindly legs that enable it to “skate” over the quiet surface of a pond with its body lifted slightly above the water, never resting on it.  Both the front and back pairs of legs extend from the center of the strider’s body—the back legs do the steering, as well as some of the pushing, while the front legs provide most of the power that gives it such speedy movements.

Actually striders do not swim; they glide smoothly and quickly over the surface. Taking advantage of the surface tension on water, they can stay on the surface without breaking through and can skate along with remarkable speed.  No splashing takes place—the legs just touch the surface lightly and leave little dimples behind them.

Water striders feed on dead insects as well as tiny live ones they are able to capture as they skate and sometimes hop about in their search for food.  It is plain to see the Creator designed them only for swampy areas, for they cannot travel on dry ground.

You might think these little creatures, skimming about in such a lively manner, are hardly worth a person’s attention.  But they do serve a purpose in God’s creation and are one more example of His wisdom and pleasure in making them an important part of the area of the world where they live.

How often do you take time to “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14)? 

Love you all - Grandpa

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