Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Security Through Obscurity, Lilikoi, & the Gulf Fritillary

Passion vine is chemically protected by cyanogenic glycosides, which prevent most plant-eating insects from feeding on it. It is, however, fed upon by the larvae of two specialized butterflies, which feed on no other plants.

Security Through Obscurity. A most amazing term taught to me by my friend EBP. It is used in relation to computers and the internet, etc.

Of course I think the term is much deeper ;) I've instituted my own Security Through Obscurity in those times where I retreat from social butterfly back into my cocoon. Which is, by the way, a really great way to re-energize oneself.

Before I went on holiday, I cut a piece of sprawling Passion Flower vine off of a fence in my neighborhood (there was much to spare). I wanted to try to root it and start my own plant as its always been one of my favorites. The flowers always blow my mind, the name is amazing, and I love the fruit. (Passion fruit or lilikoi as its know in Hawaii, is one of my most FAVORITE fruits and flavors!) I put the long piece of vine in a celadon Japanese vase sitting in my picture window.
When I returned from VA, I noticed there was the coolest caterpillar on the vine, munching away. I let him be and just admired him. Knowing a bit about the evolution of caterpillar to butterfly, I realized this must be his host plant (caterpillars must have particular plants as their food--not just any old vine). Instead of moving him, I felt his needs were more important than my want of growing a healthy vine.

Well, the very next day, I see he's dropped his black spiny outer-shell head on the shelf and attached himself--making his cocoon/chrysalis!!!! It changes a bit each day, becoming more camouflaged as part of the vine. Hmm....and back again we go. His very own Security Through Obscurity maneuver--taking a break to be shrouded in peaceful darkness for awhile before fluttering about beautifully in the light of the world. Of course I understand the caterpillar/butterfly and I am so blessed to witness this on kind of an intimate level. Soon he will become a Gulf Fritillary butterfly and I'll set him free......or maybe he's a she.....or maybe we'll fly away free together :)

Bizarre to feel commonality with a caterpillar? I don't think so.

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