Dancing For Your Life

You may remember this post the other day where I wrote about chewing on an idea, what I didn’t mention at the time was how difficult it was to get a macro shot of the caterpillar I used for that post. Every time I came in close to snap a photograph, the caterpillars would suddenly lift their back ends up and hold them aloft moving them up and down slightly in a waving motion.

This morning I did some research as I was curious to see what they might look like as butterflies. I was having no luck searching through Google for websites until I stumbled across a link that mentioned dancing caterpillars. It turns out they will never be butterflies as this type of larvae are known as Sawfly larvae which look more wasp-like than anything else after it goes through its final changes.

As for the dancing movement, that is commonly said to only be seen in this particular type and is a survival technique that is supposed to protect them from harm. They only do it if you get too close, but when they went into defensive dance mode with me it seemed kind of slow if the goal was to protect them from birds and other fast-moving predators. A few days later I went back to the bush to see what had become of them and to see if anything remained of the plant they had been munching their way through only to discover the branches empty and bare.

While they had eaten quite a lot of the leaves, more remained than were missing which made me wonder if perhaps those little caterpillars had not danced fast enough to avoid becoming a dinner snack for some of the birds in our back garden.

Of course nothing is ever only an educational experience on one level for me, not content with just an impromptu science lesson, I spent some time thinking about these dancing caterpillars and considered all the protective dance moves I’ve used in my own life. I considered the effectiveness of what nature had taught these little future flyers as I thought about the ways I’ve used denial and avoidance in the past to sidestep important issues and I wondered whether that had hurt or saved me in my transformative years.

Can you tell I’m working on something a bit deeper in my daily writing than just happy pleasant things? What about you, are you doing any dancing lately and is it working? Maybe you can teach the rest of us a few new steps … in case we need them sometime. Regarding dancing, I should tell you that I am notorious for trying to lead but I’ll try not to step on your toes.