Saturday, November 19, 2016

# 3 Orange Blister Beetle

Sometimes i think curiosity is an important key to learning. Learn quick and in a thrilling, adrenalin pumping way. Books are great learning tools but what good can a book do if one is not curious enough to know. But of course that's only sometimes because too much curiosity can be fatal too. Thank Heavens that i was not that fatal kind of curious with this one although i must say i indeed was one thirsting for knowledge of the hurried kind to know as fast as i could. Learning did happen by leaps and bounds asap. Now a good word for what it is worth has earned a well deserved attention and i feel like sharing APOSEMATISM.

Of course i was not even pronouncing it correctly as my tongue was reading the word like a just initiated into reading kid saying A- Pose- Matism stressing on the Pose part. A pose matism i mumbled twice thrice or maybe even more. Probably an instinct to hang on to the word lest it should evaporate from my system. Don't remember hearing the word on Nat Geo or any other Wild life Channels or even if the word was duly repeated during narration i might not have picked it up. Being more engrossed in seeing the visuals than listening carefully to all that the playback voice really was wanting its viewers to also know. 

The sequence that happened because of my as curious as a cat self is as follows. Orange Blister Beetle- Aposematism- How to pronounce Aposematism- Thank Heavens for the premonition - Feeling elated -Happily satiated like a cat that has just polished off a jar of cream- the cat feels like telling one and all about it.

 First the brilliantly striped insect appears on the flower (Yellow Alder) and i can't stop looking at those colors and feeling vaguely thrilled as well as intrigued at the size of the insect's head, thorax and abdomen. It was as large as a big black bumble bee. Some  premonition kind of a feeling too about giving it a due respect and leaving it alone lurked inside .  
 Although i tried staying away i could not help in my curiosity to keep coming back to see and hear. Sounds if there was any or how it moved. Only to see to my horror that it was munching away to God's glory my beautiful bright yellow Alder. Moving quickly from one petal to the other voraciously devouring like a starved beast. It's brilliantly striped shield like abdomen slightly parted and it's phalanxes appearing and disappearing. i assumed that the abdomen was also the wing and maybe the insect could fly like the bumble bee. i however could not get the opportunity to know if it made any buzzing sound like the bumble bee. Some instinct cautioned that i leave the creature to it's meal but it was curiosity that saw me sitting on my laptop few minutes later frantically searching the ID of the insect eating my flower. 
Knowledge is good but it also brings fear. But even when you don't know anything nature provides warning signals. My premonition was justified when i learnt of the beetle. Good that i did not move too close for it to feel threatened although i must say i wanted to take more pictures. Closer shots and perhaps chase the beetle to where there was enough light to capture all it's features.
It sure was an interesting subject for practice practice till you get perfect.

The term aposematism was coined by the English zoologist Edward Bagnall Poulton in his 1890 book The Colours of Animals. He based the term on the Ancient Greek words ἀπό apo away, ση̑μα sēma sign, referring to signs that warn other animals away.

This Orange Blister Beetle because of what nature has bestowed them with has earned a bad name for itself i learnt. i believe some call it Besharam (Shameless) and those speaking Hindi call it Behaya meaning just the same (one who has no shame). i am glad the scientific name cannot be translated. For in entomology it has a name sounding as unique, elaborate and perhaps partly descriptive too as all the other species that co exist along with us. Mylabris pustulata.  
The various internet sites might call it a pest for anything that preys upon what humans need for survival is a pest but i feel otherwise too. They are what they are because nature intended them to be that way. And looking from their perspective even we the Homo sapiens are a pest. Rather of late i feel we are the biggest pests existing in nature now. For with our sheer number and increasing demands we are devouring, plundering, destroying everything that is coming in our way. We intrude upon habitats making way for our own settlements destroying farms, fields, forests and when hunger/loss of habitat brings creatures back into our yards we raise a hue and cry. 
For this time i have decided to learn the word, how to pronounce it correctly and let things be, Thanks to the brilliant color and size i would not know Aposematism.  i know now (also thanks to my curiosity) that not unless they are threatened or crushed no Orange Blister Beetle or Mylabris pustulata will look for me only to attack me and give me blisters or welts that turn septic if not treated. i don't own horses either which might face extermination due to this beetle. And although i was horrified at first to see it eating the flower my garden still has plenty of Turnera ulimifolia or Yellow Alders or Yellow Buttercups or Sage Rose or Cuban Buttercups.  
However knowledge is helpful so i would like readers to be warned too. Hence
And it would not be fair before giving all (who didn't know the word) a chance to learn to pronounce it. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

# 2 Hoverfly

i feel blessed that i am given space to grow plants. And this activity of growing has from time to time brought me up close and personal with species i am seeing only now. Quite a revelation !
i see them often and sometimes must admit feeling somewhat reluctant to disturb their daily chores. What if my curiosity gets in the way of the creature and their instincitive defence mechanism sees me running for cover.
So then that's how i came to notice these beautiful creatures when at first i thought they were bees/wasps and that i should stay away from them lest they should sting me.
Tiny creatures with brilliant stripes. Iridescent pair of wings and the body that shines like it was made of glass. But that was not the only feature that attracted me towards these bee looking creatures. What fascinated me the most was the locomotion part. Yeah !
In so many ways it reminded me of helicopters and the way it hovered around the flower or foliage it fancied.
For days have i chased them keeping them at arms length at first because i thought they might sting me if i got too close. Last year i was stung twice by wasps (accidently) and i still cringe at the memory of the pain and the swelling. Not to miss the itching that happens as the spot heals.
Then thanks to a couple of my just by chance shots plus some search on the internet that i got a bit more daring.
Hover Fly that's what they are called. Friendly tiny creatures that hover around the plants in search of nectar and pollen.
They move like they are swimming in the air. Just gliding in and out of the flower beds and among the foliage like an expert diver. The speed of the wings with the day light all around they apparently seem wingless. Actually it is quite difficult to make comparisons. Sometimes you feel like they are like divers in the atmospheric sea and other times they resemble like those helicopters in the sky. The blades seen chopping the wind not as pair of blades but something moving just too fast to let the eye discern.
However the uniqueness of this particular species of 'Flower Fly' truly is in the way it hovers. Suspended with their glassy bodies in the air. Harmless and quiet. As if meditating/levitating. Their beautiful pair of fragile fairy wings hardly visible to the discerning eye at times. At other times if you are close enough maybe you can spot the rapidly moving wings.
Sometimes i wonder how we knew right from childhood about bees and missed knowing about these. Maybe we weren't looking or maybe there was no time to look. i thank Heavens. For the exact time when i see more now even though without my glasses i am partially blind.
Thank you for going through my pictures and what i had to say.
i also thank the mentioned below site for giving me the FAQs on this among the so many of the Flower Flies.
i am still chasing Hover flies to shoot for myself a perfect clear picture of the one sleek brilliantly striped body flanked by rapidly moving wings.
Wish me luck then !