Friday, August 8, 2008

Caterpillar Migration

*I see you caterpillar!*
(This is a picture Mae took of herself)

The other day John Russel told me, with the excitement of a six year old, that there was a huge caterpillar on the playground at school. He was so excited to tell me about his find. He said that it was big and yellow and had a huge stinger on it. I told him he shouldn't touch such a thing. He reassured me he only touched the part by the head--away from the stinger part. "It was nice and squishy," he informed me. Nice, I thought. The very next day I was headed into Tucson and I noticed all these yellow spots on the road. I then noticed what looked like worms on the road. Oh My! It was hundreds of caterpillars! What in the world! I couldn't wait to tell John Russel what I had seen. Well, it wasn't nearly as exciting as his news. He told me that there were even more on the playground and one boy even squished one. "It was all green and gooey on the inside," he reported. Mae joined in the excitement and told us that a boy in her class brought one to school and it got out of the jar and climbed on a little girl. I didn't even have to imagine this horror scene because as we made our way to the car from school we saw several on the sidewalk that had been squished. When we encountered the first one all four of us responded with a loud "EWWWW"! When we got home there was even one in our back yard.

What in the world are these things? Can they sting us? Are they poisonous? Should I be worried that the end of the world is near? Well, after searching the web, it didn't take me long to find an article in our local paper about these creepy crawlers. They are white-lined sphinx larvae. They are known to migrate. The scientists think they are trying to find good soil to lay their eggs in. They come out during the monsoon season. It also said that people used to harvest them and eat them. YUCK!

Anyway, what an interesting lesson for us. Who knew that the desert could bring so many new and interesting things right to our back door. Literally. We have all enjoyed getting to know this strange new place. We like to think that God has sent us on this grand adventure. It's our choice to embrace it or hate it. We've chosen to enjoy every new and exciting minute of it!

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