The broken wing

I am a big fan of anything that creeps or crawls. I spent a few years training and watching ants and honey bees, so obviously I like those. But I also enjoy picking up beetles, or play with spiders. When a fly or moth is trapped behind a window, I will show them the way out rather than crush them. I even don’t mind feeding a few mosquitoes while working in the garden – they are just doing what they are meant to do.

But if I happen to see the mosquito when it lands on me, it usually doesn’t survive long enough to suck my blood. If I can see it, it isn’t very good at what it does, so that’s when I do what I am meant to do as an agent of natural selection. And if I am too busy to rescue a trapped fly, I won’t lose sleep over another dead fly, either.

It is natural for insects to die – that’s why they have so many offspring. So even if we love insects, we need to see the individual bug for what it is: expendable. Which is why I was so amazed when I came across this video:

There are actually people who fix a butterfly’s broken wing with a prosthetic. They say that “Millions of butterflies damage their wings each year. Be prepared!” Oh, dear.

The Live Monarch Foundation seems to be doing a good job in raising awareness about the dwindling habitat of the Monarch butterfly, and it may even have managed to increase the number of milkweed plants (which is what the Monarch caterpillars feed on) with its Plant a Seed programme. And maybe this video was just a stunt to help raise awareness – it did get a lot more views than any of their other videos. But I do hope they have more productive things to do than to fix the wings of millions of butterflies…

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy Giger says:

    That’s right, I have heard that too. But monarchs are probably quite a bit sturdier than your average butterfly, so maybe they can take that sort of treatment. Even if that’s the case, though, we really don’t know what happens to these repaired butterflies after they are (presumably) released. They may look fixed to us with their new wing, but we don’t know how well they can fly with that, do we? Will they fly in circles because of the added weight? Are they affected by the fumes of the glue? Were they about to die of old age anyway? Who knows?

  2. Danny says:

    The pinning down process sure looks painful!

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