Stripes – The Butterfly and the Tree

Well, I’m pleased to say there was breakfast in my bowl when I came to work this morning. It just goes to show that humans can also learn. They were all keen to pet me and please me, so my Shirley human sat down to tell me about the trees they planted for tree day. Arbour Day.

One of the trees we planted, she said is a Wild Peach. Hey, how wild is it? Does it also have the kinetic energy thing and did you have to hold it down to plant it? No silly, she said. It’s not really a peach tree, but the leaves look a bit like peach leaves, so people called it a wild peach because it grows by itself in nature and they didn’t know what else to call it. Oh really? Humans can also get confused like me?

The interesting thing about the wild peach tree, she continued, is that the tree tries to protect itself from being eaten by making cyanide in its leaves. Now cyanide is a very, very poisonous thing. It can even kill cats. How clever is that tree!

But one butterfly was also very clever. The garden Acraea caterpillar has also changed over a very long time (it’s called evolution, I’m told) to be able to eat the leaves without getting killed. It has learned to store the cyanide away safely.

So now the caterpillar and its butterfly also have cyanide in their bodies and this protects them from being eaten by birds because the birds would die if they did and their bright colours warn the birds not to eat them.

Except for the wily Klaas’ Cuckoo who has learned to eat them without dying. Wow, I think whatever evolves, something else will evolve to eat it….

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