As I watched the commotion at a clump of bergamot, a cabbage white flit leisurely close to me, as if its curiosity led it within an armís reach to check me out. Many species will fly close to you, personalizing my studies, and endearing a recognition of reassurance. That warms the soul.
My first such encounter with a night-blooming cereus came about thanks to a gift from a friend, Alicia, who gave me this same cactus, likely Selenicereus grandiflorus (one of four known species), then only a few branching succulent stems, indeed leggy and sprawling in form.
Therein lurk in floral disguise their natural predators, the spiders. Many species garner bold arresting colors that in contrast may deter predators by announcing their yellow and black warning colors of hidden toxicity.
As far back as the Devonian Period, some 340 million to 400 million years ago, insects invaded the dry land, guided by a still mysterious force enabling an aquatic nymph to become a terrestrial flying dragon capable of feeding and reproducing its own species with certain ease.
In exchange for cross-pollination, the moth imbibes fructose and glucose, natural sugars, to prolong its life and in time promote its own DNA. Thirsty wasps will bee-line to bump a butterfly off the oasis, as if to claim "Save some nectar or pollen for us!"
Despite the cool spring weather, waves of warblers and songbirds are reaching their familiar feeding grounds, in the deciduous woodlands and sylvan edges, like the banks of the Hoosic River in North Adams.
But many beetles degrading and destroying our forestlands summon us to rally in support of effective means to control destructive species that can decimate large stands of our very important trees. Many beetle species and their larvae are equipped with stout jaws or mandibles that are adept at chewing and shredding wood.
The most obvious beetle in the milkweed patch is the rosy red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetraophthalumus), surprisingly hard to find in any beetle/insect book. Go Google. Occupying a restricted niche, it is found almost exclusively foraging on milkweed leaves and blossoms.
In pursuit of beetle happiness, I can cast a note of optimism about the many beetles at large in museums and private collections, that may bring us a profound joy, allowing our sense of inquiry to thrive like a child set loose in New York's American Museum of Natural History.