I was in my garden watering plants and looking for some urban wildlife to show up. Nature never ceases to amaze me , I noticed that some palm leaves appeared to be joined as if they were stitched together.
On observing closely and undoing the leaves I found a caterpillar of the Giant red eye which was hiding .
After a few days this caterpillar curled itself up among the leaves turned into a pupa. When the caterpillar becomes a pupa I usually transfer it in a ventilated enclosure so that I can observe it closely. When I started to hold the leaf enclosure of the pupa , it started vibrating so much that I almost dropped it. By vibrating the pupa keeps the potential predators away. I do not have the click of the pupa ,one of the reason being I was scared , the other reason was that it was so well packed inside the leaves that I did not want to disturb it.
Then finally one fine day this beauty emerged .I wanted to know more about the metamorphosis of the butterfly ,on browsing further I stumbled upon imaginal cells . Imaginal cells are responsible for the transformation of the caterpillar in to a butterfly.
The closeup of the Giant red eye’s Eye
A real miracle indeed to observe the birth of a butterfly: A caterpillar crunches its way through its ecosystem, cutting a swath of destruction by eating as much as hundreds of times its weight in a day, until it is too bloated to continue and hangs itself up, its skin then hardening into a chrysalis. Inside this chrysalis, deep in the caterpillar’s body, tiny things biologists call ‘imaginal disks’ begin to form. Not recognizing the newcomers, the caterpillar’s immune system snuffs them as they arise. But they keep coming faster and faster, then linking up with each other. Eventually the caterpillar’s immune system fails from the stress and the disks become imaginal cells that build the butterfly by feeding on the soupy meltdown of the caterpillar’s body.
It took a long time for biologists to understand the reason for the immune system attack on the incipient butterfly cells, but eventually they discovered that the butterfly has its own unique genome, carried by the caterpillar, inherited from long ago in evolution, yet not part of it as such (Margulis & Sagan, Acquiring Genomes 2002).
If we see ourselves as imaginal discs working to build the butterfly of a better world, we will understand that we are launching a new ‘genome’ of values and practices to replace that of the current unsustainable system. We will also see how important it is to link with each other in the effort, to recognize how many different kinds of imaginal cells it will take to build a butterfly with all its capabilities and colors.
– Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D., evolution biologist, lecturer and author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution
Some interesting links on imaginal cells below: