Yesterday, I was sweeping my porch and swept up a beautiful yellow male Io moth. At first, I thought it was dead, but when threatened he flipped his forewings forward exposing the large eyespots on his hind wings.
Most people in Nicaragua are afraid of gusanos, or caterpillars. I had no idea why, until I researched the venomous sting of the Io moth caterpillar. Virtually the entire bodies of larvae are protected by venomous spines. When spines penetrate the skin, the tips break off and release the venom. His eyespots have white highlights resembling reflections of vertebrate eyes.
He rested and permitted me to take his photo. The adult Io moths are strictly nocturnal. They remain motionless during the daytime and mimic the yellow or brown leaves that are common here. I set him on a blue bottle for a contrast. He didn’t make a fuss, and remained motionless for his photos. That evening, when I checked on him, he had flown away…probably searching for a mate. The females always emit a pheromone to call the males from approximately 9:30 pm to midnight.
The life cycle of an adult Io moth is short-lived. The adults do not eat, and when the mating process is complete, they drop lifelessly to the forest floor.
Have you ever wondered why the pig is associated with saving money? Some say the origin of the piggy bank was derived from the type of clay 15th century European potters used, called Pygg Clay. In the early 20th century, potters began to shape the clay in the form of pigs and people would save their loose coins in the pygg jars.
However, in Nicaragua, the piggy bank is literally a piglet. They call their pigs, the Bancos de Chanchitos, which means piggy banks. The Nicaraguans buy the piglets when they are 8 weeks old for about 800 cordobas ($30). Then, when they are 9 months old, they are ready to butcher for Christmas nacatamales and chicharrón, a dish generally made of fried pork rinds.
Earlier this year, we bought Marina one of Theresa’s piglets. The piglet is now 9 months old and ready to be butchered for nacatamales and chicharrón for the Christmas feast.
Raising piglets for Christmas dinner is a long tradition in Nicaragua.
The process starts with an hembra (female) in heat. Chela, Theresa’s huge hembra, is ready for Barracho the Boar.
Did I get your attention? I love Blue-Footed Boobies! A bumpy hour boat ride off the coast of Puerto López, Ecuador ushered us to the isolatedIsla de Plata, known as the poor man’s Galápagos or Silver Island because of the large deposits of guano that stain its dark cliffs. Some say that the uninhabited island derived its name from the centuries-old buried treasure of Sir Francis Drake.
Indeed, there is treasure to be discovered here, but not in the way you would presume. Take a walk with me . Let’s see if we can spot some Blue-Footed Boobies…my favorite comical birds.
“You can only chase a butterfly for so long.” ― Jane Yolen, Prince Across the Water
From a very early age, butterflies and moths have been my totems. I have always been enchanted by their graceful movements and their vibrant colors. Although they symbolize different things to different cultures, universally, they represent change and transformation.
For TheWeeklyPhotoChallenge: This week, we want to see photos that focus on one thing. Here is my interpretation of “On the First Day of Christmas” Nicaraguan style. Instead of “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree: “On the first day of Christmas Nicaragua gave to me….
“Most people want to be circled by safety, not by the unexpected. The unexpected can take you out. But the unexpected can also take you over and change your life. Put a heart in your body where a stone used to be.” ― Ron Hall
We are in the states for Ron’s mother’s celebration of life. The day of Jane’s celebration of life, we were greeted with unexpected surprises throughout the day. Most people want to be circled by safety…we prefer the unexpected.
Using an outhouse. A headless scarecrow? Snow???? Brrrrrr. A little bird landed on Ron’s fingers. We found a secret tunnel at the museum where Jane’s celebration of life was held.