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Pudgy Pupa Takes Wing

Updated on February 7, 2011
Pudgy Pupa Takes Wing, by rlz
Pudgy Pupa Takes Wing, by rlz

(Hey, good luck with your first flying lesson!)

Here we observe a pudgy pupa of Bahamian BeheMoth as he launches himself for the first time from a branchlet of an indigenous Autograph Tree. (We know that this pupa is a male; were it a female, it would be a Bahamian BeherMoth.) The Autograph Tree is so-called because you can carve your name into the surface of its leaf, and return to find the autograph remaining after a year or more. You can be sure that the weight of this pupa is gonna leave a mark!

The BeheMoth is aptly named, for this large Lepidopteran can grow to have a wingspan of 14 feet or more. It is claimed that one of the most prominent street dancers in Nassau’s Junkanoo parade of 1997 — with gaily colored gossamer garb virtually spanning the street — was in fact a local boy’s pet BeheMoth on the loose. Air controllers at neighboring Caribbean islands have often been fooled by flocking BeheMoths buzzing their runways.

But one needn’t be bothered by BeheMoths; though huge, they are quite harmless. Like some other moths, the adult BeheMoth has no mouth (just pudgy lips) and cannot eat. It must therefore do all its eating in its youth — which explains the pudginess. (This guy never saw a leaf he didn’t like.)

So it is not just the adult form of the BeheMoth that is sizable. In its overstuffed oblate larval form, moving slowly across rough terrain, the youthful and vivid yellow caterpillar looks like — you guessed it — a Caterpillar.

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