Monday, September 5, 2016

miracle of life

Hickory horned devil

In a natural world full of miracles, this may be one of the most profound. A moth or butterfly caterpillar spins a cocoon, creates a chrysalis or, in the case of the above hickory horned devil, burrows underground to form an earthen chamber. Then it pupates. The cellular organization that was once its worm-like body breaks down into a rich goo and then rearranges itself into a winged creature. This wondrous transformation is yet to be fully understood by biologists but it is one of the most sacrosanct undertakings in all of nature.

(The Cubs winning the World Series would be a miracle of equal amazement, but we'll wait and see about that.)

Two weeks ago was Sophia's first day of school. That's life-changing. AND to complete the analogy, she also acquired the oddest creature she had ever seen. It too would soon be going through something life-changing.

Metamorphosis: [met-uh-mawr-fuh-sis] noun. Biology. a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism.

Photo by Shirley Andrews
Both "Soph" and her hickory horned devil caterpillar were about to go through metamorphosis. Sophia was becoming a student and the large green spiky lepidopteran larva would transform into a royal walnut moth, a.k.a. regal moth (Citheronia regalis). 

Wow! The miracles in our lives.

To prolong the enchantment, I created a terrarium with appropriate tasty leaves for the devil, but it soon eschewed the edibles to burrow underground below the dirt and detritus. It was its time. After a few days, I gently moved the material aside and found the pupa: a shiny dark capsule that held a miracle in the making.  

Good luck in school this fall, Sophia. Good luck with the transformation of your own. 

Thank you, Grandmother Linda and Mom Karen. 

For the initial post, click: big day for Sophia.

Sophia with her foundling caterpillar as long as my opposable digit!
The horned devil/regal moth pupa hidden under leaves.
Regal moth: What the horned devil will look like after metamorphosis

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