Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Yucca Moth Territory

Tonight the perigee moon will loom especially bright as it sheds its light on the nightly activities of Yucca Moths aka Pronuba Moths. Over the last week the small, silvery-white moths emerged from cocoons in the soil near the yuccas. Now they are ready to collect pollen, mate, lay eggs, and pollinate their chosen plants. Between sunset and midnight when yucca blooms open fully they fulfill their destiny in the bridal chambers of individual blooms. The relationship between yucca and moth is mutually exclusive. One cannot survive without the other.

As the female moth collects the sticky yucca pollen, she rolls it into a compact ball to ease transportation of the treasure. Now she must locate one of the new blooms to complete her reproductive ritual. She is very selective. Any evidence of prior visitations causes her to renew her quest. A successful search culminates with a deposit of her eggs within the flower’s ovary. Before departing she climbs the stigma and transfers some of her pollen ball to fertilize the flower. This mutually beneficial gift ensures a fruit shell to house and seed stores to nourish her offspring. The larvae hatch within a few days. They do not consume the entire yucca seed cache, which ensures the survival of the yucca. When yucca larvae leave their lofty abodes and drop to the prairie soil below, they prefer earth softened by thunderstorms to ease burrowing. Each will form a cocoon. The end and the beginning of the circle of life are one, once more.

© Ilija Lukić 2012

Yucca Bridal Chamber (tageticula yuccasela, aka Pronuba Moth)

Pronuba Condominium (yucca campestris)

Calling All Yucca Pollinators

Towering Retreats (Plains Yucca)

Yucca Moth Territory (yucca campestris)

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