22 Jun '12, 11am
The Annotated Budak: Survival of the flittest by @budak
Large geometrid moth, Venus Drive. The butterflies and moths encountered in woods and waysides, floating before floral nectaries and wheeling below the canopy, are survivors – the fortunate, or perhaps fitter, few who failed to fall prey to tree shrews, cuckoos, tailorbirds, agamids, geckos, tree frogs, assassin bugs, carabid beetles, potter wasps and huntsman spiders. Many of their siblings succumbed to fate long before they hatched, the victims of mites, spiders, ants, thrips and earwigs, or the hosts of minute wasps that follow the odour of freshly laid eggs and inject their own ova into the capsules. The grubs, if they are lucky enough to elude their own parasitoids, emerge into a womb of plenty and munch through a body on its last, lumbering legs. Common snow flat , Venus Drive. Tachinid larvae and fungal spores also take their toll on young lepidopterans, which suffe...