Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Birth of a beetle at Gamone

Twenty minutes ago, while seated in front of my computer screen and reading the news of momentous events throughout the planet Earth and beyond, I was surprised by the buzzing sound of an insect that hurtled diagonally across my screen and landed on a corner of my desk. Thinking it was an unwelcome blowfly, I was about to squash it with a blow of my fist. Fortunately, miraculously, an angel arrived instantly above my Macintosh and seized my murderous hand.

It wasn't a blowfly. (I'm referring to the insect, not the angel.) I was confronted by a tiny coccinellid (ladybird), which I immediately clasped gently between my fingertips and laid on the outside sill of the bathroom window.

It had probably emerged recently from its pupa in a warm corner of my bedroom, and my intervention amounted to inviting the tiny creature to visit the outside world of Gamone, where my rose bushes will soon be offering a good food supply of tasty aphids. For several years now, whenever I spot ladybirds, I've attempted to nudge them into their optimal setting for proliferation. The survivors (like the little fellow I've just encountered) probably don't realize it, but they should look upon me as a Good Beetle Samaritan. Meanwhile, I admire the simplicity of a Wikipedia rendition of ladybird anatomy.

Ah, if only the totality of the marvelous science of anatomy were to have been reduced to this kind of splendid lucidity, I would have mastered it instantaneously and completely, and I might have become a great doctor, a celebrated surgeon capable of grafting robotic synthetic shells onto the wings of injured beetles, a ladybird Nobel...

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