Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mexican jumping beans

Remember Mexican jumping beans? A novelty toy, but there was something vaguely creepy about them because you knew there had to be something alive in there making them move. Well, your childhood suspicions were correct. They are animated by the larvae of a moth. Here is a great BBC video that explains how the Laspeyresia saltitans moth lays its eggs on the immature flowers of the Sebastiano pavoniana shrub that grows in the Sonoran desert of North America, particularly around Alamos, Mexico, billed as the "jumping bean capital of the world." After a few weeks, the tiny worms make their way into the segments of seeds, which then harden around them. The trapped worms eat the developing seed as they grow, throwing themselves against its walls to escape the sun after the seeds fall to the desert floor. After a few months, the worms spin cocoons and metamorphose into moths, crawling out of a trap door and dying after only a few days. If you are fascinated rather than repulsed - or want your own kids to experience this rite of passage - you can order Mexican jumping beans retail or wholesale.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.