Ballet in your backyard

The dance of life is happening all around you. Have you ever noticed?

Updated - December 08, 2023 04:35 pm IST

Published - December 08, 2023 11:20 am IST

You don’t have to go very far to witness nature’s intriguing drama. It could be happening right in your backyard.

You don’t have to go very far to witness nature’s intriguing drama. It could be happening right in your backyard. | Photo Credit: Pixabay

Bored? Fret not. You can make use of your free time to explore and witness nature’s drama. It can be most fascinating, as thrillers, comedies, romance are all for the asking.

Scene: A park near my house, where I go for a walk every morning.

A seemingly lifeless chrysalis hanging from the leaf of a rui plant suddenly starts moving. The fragile pupa skin slits, and out emerge two black compound eyes. Next appears the entire head with its coiled-up proboscis and soon, the plain tiger butterfly steps out in its entirety, wings and all.

A plain tiger butterfly emerges

A plain tiger butterfly emerges | Photo Credit: Pixabay

Plain tiger: Hi, I can hardly wait to meet all of you, especially nectar-laden lantanas and periwinkles. I just have to hang on a bit till my wings are completely dry.

As soon as its wings are dry, it begins to flutter about, heading towards a bed of periwinkle flowers.

Periwinkle: Come to me, pretty butterfly! Drink from my ample nectar supply. How else will I get pollinated? Only if you transfer my pollen to the stigma will I turn into a fruit and produce seeds.

The plain tiger alights on a periwinkle flower and uncoils its proboscis, ready to suck the delicious sweet drink. Unknown to it, a crab spider which is of the same colour as the flower, is lurking in ambush.

A crab spider lurks around

A crab spider lurks around | Photo Credit: Pixabay

Crab spider: Aha, walk into my flower, you foolish butterfly. I am waiting to make a meal of you.

Plain tiger: No, no! Please don’t eat me. I still have to lay my eggs so that more of my species are born.

The ruthless crab spider, however, grabs hold of the orange wings. The butterfly struggles with all its might… Just then, a long sticky tongue shoots at the crab spider.

Crab spider: Ouch! Something has hit me. Help! I am being pulled away! Oh no! It’s a lizard. She wants to gulp me down.

A lizard waits for the perfect moment to strike

A lizard waits for the perfect moment to strike | Photo Credit: Pixabay

The lizard thrusts the tip of its sticky tongue into its mouth and gobbles down the spider. It then cleans its eyes with the same sticky tongue and settles down to snooze contentedly. But circling high up in the sky is a black kite whose sharp eyes have spotted it.

Black kite: Aha! A fat lizard, fast asleep. I shall swoop down and grab it. My hungry chicks back home are crying for food.

A black kite swoops down from nowhere

A black kite swoops down from nowhere | Photo Credit: Pixabay

The black kite swoops down and, in one swift move, grabs the lizard’s tail in her deadly talons. But the alarmed victim wriggles about and breaks off its own tail, leaving it writhing in the bird’s claws.

Lizard: Phew! Saved! I may be tailless, but that does not matter. I shall soon grow a new tail.

Peace prevails at last. The wild drama is over. Or is it? As I walk a little ahead I notice a long army of ants carrying seeds into their underground home. The workers inside are probably removing the husks and chewing them into small balls, and cultivating nutritious fungal gardens for their young larvae. The wonders of nature never seem to cease. The drama goes on…

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