“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”
In a clever scheme of self-protection, the more poisonous the male rattlebox moth is, the more prized he is by the female rattlebox moth.
In the caterpillar stage, the male moth favors the pods of certain legumes. These pods contain a powerful poison that seems to have no effect on the caterpillar. After the caterpillar has become a moth and it’s time for mating, the male releases a scent produced by the poison. Those who have more poison in their bodies release a stronger scent, while those with little poison release only a weak scent. Female rattlebox moths prefer males with a strong scent. During mating, the male coats the eggs with some of the poison, making them unpalatable to predators, like ladybugs, who might eat the eggs. So the more poison a male has, the better protected the female’s eggs will be. Studies have shown that female rattlebox moths will ignore males that have collected no poison.
Likewise, the male of the queen butterfly species collects another plant poison in his system. This poison is produced by plants for protection against insects. The butterfly doesn’t attack the plant; rather, he drinks the poison from already injured plants. Here, too, the female queen butterfly favors those males with the most poison.
It appears that human beings are not the only creatures who go to the drug store to get needed medicines. The Creator has provided the animal world with their own drug store and the knowledge of how to use the chemicals He has provided.
Lord, as I see Your intelligence and individual care at every level of the creation, I glorify You. Help me to remember how loving and clever You are in all things, especially when I don’t see a solution to some problem in my life. Amen.
“Different strokes for six-legged folks.” Discover, June 1988. p. 12.