Friday, November 16, 2007

a little decorum please

I've noticed these little insects around our house for quite some time now.

I don't know what they are (possibly a variety of milkweed bug?), but most frequently they can be found... um... well... ah... having sex.

This is not like normal insect couplings however - these guys are truly inseparable. They do not break apart and scatter in different directions at the slightest fright. Even while being chased all over the rhubarb plant (as they were just now), they maintain their special bond. Which explains the poor quality of the photo... they just would not stand still.

So no, instead of splitting and hoping for the best, these little critters choose to run along in tandem. I find this a truly amazing feat of nature, because one (usually the larger and presumably the male) leads while the other follows, backwards the whole way without missing a beat. Incredible.

Unfortunately it doesn't all end with a scurry into the camouflage of mulch as occured today. Last week two such insects came to rather a gruesome end. I went downstairs to play the piano and noticed their cosey huddle as I unlocked the door. I left the door open and proceeded to the piano for a wonderful workout at the keys. An hour or so later I exited the room, pulled the door shut behind me and thought nothing more of the insects. Returning the next day I stumbled upon the grizzly sight - two milkweed bugs squashed abdomen to abdomen in the door frame. In their mating frenzy they had forgotten to run away. Both were just still alive so I carefully scraped them off the wood before the smaller of the two ran off, but I don't think the larger one made it.

Well what can I say? If you insist on mating in public and won't let anything stop you, you are kind of asking for trouble. On the other hand, perhaps we all could learn from the steadfastness of the milkweed bugs - obviously we can't live quite as they do, but putting our relationships above all else? Hmmm, I don't know... there might be something in that! (Obviously the analogy can only be stretched so far!)

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At 2:47 pm, November 16, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

I hope you going to wash that rhubarb before you eat it! It is rhubard isn't it?

At 3:14 pm, November 16, 2007, Blogger Angela said...

you know eagles mate mid air and separate just before they smash into the ground, hey? i wonder if humans are the only animals to mate in such respectable (ha) ways.

At 3:57 pm, November 16, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

All I have to say is ewwwwww.

At 6:28 am, November 17, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

I was greatly laughing and loving the way you put those words together about the poor insects coming apart. :o)

At 8:23 am, November 17, 2007, Blogger Mike S said...

Florida has what are known as 'Love-bugs' due to their identical behavior. They love oil/gas fumes and collect at intersections. Terrible on autos as the acid in them eats paint. Even the birds won't eat them:)


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