Previous Nature Studies in the Acadian Land (1899) Next

 

26   IN THE ACADIAN LAND.

will hatch. Now the serious thing that may happen is this : a very small fly with a very large concern for her future brood, thinks she knows a good thing when she sees it, and if she finds these eggs there will be no butterflies ever come from them, but her own kind of flies in-stead. She is provided with a sharp hollow tube that connects with the eggs in her own body. She thrusts it into the butterfly's egg, and sends through a dozen or more of her own, and then serves others in the same way. Now if this event does not happen, and no other accident befalls them, the butterfly's egg will hatch, and out of it will come a tiny brown caterpillar, and then the battle begins in earnest. Enemies, from ants to birds, are looking for him. The chances to ever reach the butterfly stage are not one to one hundred, but he is bound to make trial for that chance. He begins to gnaw the leaf and spin a bit of web carpet to stretch him-self upon when not at work eating. As he feeds, his skin becomes tighter, and in four days it bursts open and he is larger and a little changed in color. In five days more he has become too big for his jacket and moults again. Then he is about one-half inch in length, quite green with the exception of a little marking ; this color like the leaf is a great advantage,


Previous Nature Studies in the Acadian Land (1899) Next