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17 Apr, 2021
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worms & wonderful wings

Worms & Wonderful Wings – Article by Gareth Jones

Worms & Wonderful Wings Of The Nairobi National Park – by Gareth Jones

worms & wonderful wings

Some time ago while driving on a rough track in the Athi Basin, I noticed a large predominantly green worm with incredibly beautiful markings on an acacia tree branch. After stopping and looking properly, we noted that it was the worm or should I say a caterpillar that eventually becomes an emperor moth. Heniocha dyops, the western marbled emperor moth, is a moth of the family Saturniidae found in Kenya.

Then I thought …..WOW! Isn’t this an amazing part of creation? The lifecycle starts when the eggs hatch and tiny worms emerge, and then rapidly consume large quantities of leaves to grow into massive worms. The worms then make silky coloured cocoons and become pupae inside the cocoons. After a short period of time, they change completely and wiggle out of their cocoons as flying creatures, we call moths and butterflies. It is interesting to note that when moths and butterflies emerge from their cocoons, they only make a small narrow hole in their cocoon, this is to ensure that as they emerge their wings are pumped by the pressure of emerging to full size. If there was not a tiny cocoon hole, then no butterflies and moths would be able to fly at all, as their wings would remain crumpled and shrivelled. It can take up to 2 hours before the wings are dry. What an incredible metamorphosis to change from wiggly fat worms into magnificent winged wonders.

Interestingly there are some people who believe that humans are at times similar to greedy fat worms; they just take…take…take. When considering the dramatic transformation of these green worms into beautiful moths, I asked myself many questions. For example, what is the purpose of this life on Earth? Do we just work…work…work…to make money…money…money, and that’s it? No! definitely not! Life is much more about giving than just taking. It is my sincere hope and prayer, that many people find the true purpose that God has given them on earth, and discover who they really are. Then hopefully many people will be transformed to use their gifts and talents for good purposes to make this world a better place for all to live together. Sometimes just observing the fine details of nature can result in deep reflections and be very meaningful and peaceful; a real “soul tonic” like medicine for your innermost being. We need to “spread our wings” to live a meaningful, loving life to be a blessing to others.

Worms and butterflies are also a vital part of many ecosystems. Many birds and creatures feast on worms in order to survive. Butterflies land on flowers to suck delicious nectar through their proboscis, and accidentally gather pollen on their bodies as they rub against the anthers. The butterflies then rub some of the pollen on the next flowers they move to and then collect some more. Through this process, the butterflies are able to pollinate numerous flowers as they move along. This action of pollination allows plants to reproduce by producing seeds.

The natural transformation of worms to moths is a dramatic, marvellous metamorphosis of worms changing into winged wonders, which is an incredible part of what God has created on Earth.

The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00.

Worms & Wonderful Wings – By Gareth Jones
Worms & Wonderful WingsGareth Jones – Nairobi Park Diary – A passionate writer & photographer
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