Sunday, December 27, 2009
What is it eating?
As we expected, the caterpillar was an Eastern Black Swallowtail. The only confusing part, to us, was the fact that she hadn't seen an Eastern Black to know the appearance of a small caterpillar of that species. It's one of the first that most of us raise on the east coast of the US.
To most of us, when caterpillars of different species resemble each other, we never think too much about it. Much of our identity of a species is based upon what it is eating.
When I see a tiny caterpillar on parsley or fennel, I don't even think about a Tiger Swallowtail. They never eat parsley or fennel; they eat plants such as black cherry, tulip poplar (as in the second photo), or sweet bay. When I see a tiny caterpillar like the above photo on tulip poplar, I never think of an Eastern Black, although they greatly resemble each other. Eastern Black caterpillars do not eat tulip poplar.
Once a person looks at the young caterpillars enough, they are easy to identify without a plant, simply from their appearance. At first glance, though, they do resemble a lot!
Larger caterpillars of these species do not resemble at all! The larger Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar is striped all over while the larger Tiger Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar is solid green with eye spots on its thorax.
I realized that humans are quite the same way. We can tell so much about another person by what they feed upon.
When someone sees me, what do they see me feed upon? Do I seek gossip and negativity? Or do I seek positive food, like clean talk and entertainment?
The old phrase, "You are what you eat" is quite true.
So now that I'm thinking about this, I need to think twice about what I feed upon. One thing I should feed upon is just instruction, admonishment, and correction from others. If I refuse to feed upon correction or spit when it is forced upon me, it cannot nourish me.
Solomon wrote it well:
The wise in heart accept commands
He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
He who obeys instructions guards his life, but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.
Make plans by seeking advice
When a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge.