Thursday, March 28, 2013

geckos and moths

Excerpt from the book Butterflies on the Roof of the World by Peter Smetacek

Having nothing urgent to do is one of the prerequisites for observing nature. If one wants to observe the lives of geckos, one needs lots of time, for they spend up to half an hour stalking each moth. A casual glance will show a few geckos adorning the wall around the lamp. Greater familiarity with their lifestyle will reveal that each position has been hard fought for and won. When the first moth appears and circles the lamp, each wing beat is carefully observed by the waiting gecko. As soon as it settles, the stalking begins. To the observer, it might not appear to have begun, for the gecko does not move at all. This seems to be the period when the gecko allows the moth to settle down and feel secure. Then, slowly, very slowly, one leg is lifted and moved forward. After a few minutes, the next leg follows. The course is not directly towards the moth. Instead, it is directed so that the gecko approaches from behind its intended victim. A step a minute marks a rapid advance. When it feels it is close enough, the final distance is covered in an all or nothing dash and bite. Often, the moth flies off. In such cases, the gecko retreats to a safe distance and begins its vigil all over again.


Well, the first line says it all. And there is so much learning in just observing whats around us in nature. All it requires is a careful eye with abundant patience.


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