Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Painted Lady Butterfly vs American Lady Butterfly

Which butterfly is pictured in these photos?

These two butterflies confuse many of us. They are two totally different butterflies that are in the same genus of classification. The first photo is of the American Painted Lady, Vanessa virginiensis. The second photo is of the Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui.

Many people who raise Painted Lady butterflies will identify an American Lady incorrectly. They resemble but are not the same at all. The caterpillars look very different from each other.

The first photograph is of a Painted Lady caterpillar. The second photograph is of an American Lady caterpillar.

Although the caterpillars cannot be confused easily, the adult butterflies are easily confused. What looks like a Painted Lady butterfly may actually be an American Lady butterfly and vice versa.

In the same way we confuse butterflies, it is easy to confuse the heart and intent of people.

Jesus had people misunderstanding the intent of his heart. I have tried to learn from the things Jesus said and did. Sometimes he defended himself while other times he was silent. It's hard to know when to speak and when to be silent.

Jesus faced what would be (for most of us) a very heart-breaking situation. His very friends said that he was deranged and came to take him by force.  (Mark 3)

In some situations we are often only presented with part of what we should know. Someone may give twisted or incomplete facts about another person. This can cause a person to look like he/she is not the person he/she really is inside. Other times people will intentionally tell absolute untruths about another person.

When I am friends with two people who are in disagreement, I find it heartbreaking. It is especially difficult when I realize that one of them is deliberately trying to make the other person to appear to be of evil intent. But who do I believe when it is not a situation where facts are provable?

The hard part is for those who are friends of both parties - who do they believe?

No matter how many people call an American Lady a Painted Lady, it does not make it a Painted Lady. It remains an American Lady.

No matter what is said about anyone that is untrue, it does not change the truth about that person. This is a lesson that I learned from these two butterflies.

When I am the person being misrepresented, it is easier to handle when I realize that nothing anyone can say changes what I am. As Popeye says, "I yam what I yam and that's what I yam".

Through this I've learned to pray for those who speak against me. This is taught in at least two places in the New Testament. What peace it brings!

I have also been the one caught 'in between' in friendships and business relationships. I have believed the wrong things about others many times, because I blindly believed to what others have said. I understand why it is easy to believe the wrong things about people. I thank God that He has forgiven me for the times I've misjudged others.

Matthew 18:15-17

And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established. And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church:

Mark 3:21

And when those who belonged to Him (His kinsmen) heard it, they went out to take Him by force, for they kept saying, He is out of His mind (beside Himself, deranged)!

Matthew 5:44

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Luke 6:28

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

I thank God for those who have worked to bring peace as much as possible in difficult situations.

Protective Cocoon

Moth Cocoon - Opened and Pupa Removed

How cool can that be? A moth cocoon can be carefully cut open and the moth pupa removed without harming it. Although it is commonly thought that the pupa must stay inside the cocoon for the moth to emerge and be healthy, it simply isn’t true.

Removing the pupa renders the value of the cocoon to nearly nothing, as far as the value of the silk itself. From the moth's point, it seems to simply be a protective 'home' for the pupa. On rare occasions, a moth caterpillar will create a cocoon and pupate outside of it. Other times one will fail to make a cocoon. Normally, the caterpillar makes the cocoon and pupates inside it.

There are poems and prose that state that if a cocoon is opened the adult moth will be unhealthy or won't live. So what do we believe? It's hard to know what truth is and what isn't in this world. Research may turn up many pages on the internet that support that erroneous claim.

We've removed many pupae from cocoons. A cocoon is simply something like a sleeping bag. In nature, though, these pupae would be vulnerable outside its cocoon. Predators and parasitoids would have better access to it.

In nature, moth caterpillars that pupate outside the cocoon would have less chance of survival. They are outside the protection of the cocoon.

It makes me wonder - what is my cocoon? Where is my safety? Am I making choices that place me outside my cocoon of safety?

A bible study quickly reveals the source of our protection and our safety. First, God himself.  Second, good counselors. 

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

Proverbs 21:31

The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

Proverbs 24:6

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Less than the best?

White Peacock butterflies are beautiful.  Rather small, flitting close to the ground, they stay near damp areas where their host plants grow.  Caterpillars of this species eat several plants; water hyssop, frog fruit, plantain, and green shrimp are a few of their host plants.

While growing water hyssop for these butterflies, we often propagate new plants for the females to lay eggs upon.  The plants are started in four inch pots in the greenhouse.  As soon as they grow roots, they're fertilized.  Well, most are fertilized!  Every now and then one of the pots are skipped when we add fertilizer to the pots.

Both of these plants were started the same day.  It's easy to see which plant was fertilized and which wasn't fertilized.  Without proper nutrients, they sure will not grow as well or as healthy.  If someone didn't know what a healthy water hyssop plant looks like, they may not realized that one is malnourished.  Yet next to a healthy plant, anyone can see which onet hasn't had the proper nutrients and stands out like a sore thumb.

Things like this remind us how important proper nutrients are for life.  Customers and caterpillars both should have the plant on the left, not the plant on the right.  Yet both customers and caterpillars would rather have the plant on the right rather than no plant at all!  We all tend to settle for less than perfect when we don't see or cannot obtain what is perfect.

It makes me stop and wonder; where am I settling for 'less than the best'?