Fall woods

Fall woods

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hell Itself Would Probably Freeze Over First

Petunia and I went on a winter nature hike in a nearby watershed this afternoon while our menfolk were at a soccer tournament.  It was organized by geocachers and there are caches in the area, but I've already found most of them, so the highlight for us was walking around the snowy fields with one of the naturalists listening to his comments about tracks and birds and plant life and whatnot.  At one point, he stopped us near an area filled with tall dried-out grasses and picked a stalk that looked like this.


He went on to explain that this bud-like growth is called a gall, and that it develops on the goldenrod plant stem at the site where the parasitic goldenrod gall fly female has injected an egg.  The gall grows with the insect larva and the larva stays within the gall for a full year, wintering inside it by producing glycerol and sorbitol, sugars which act like antifreeze in the larval system.

He then cut open the gall and plopped the small wiggling creature inside (which looked like this) onto the black mitten of a conveniently-located kid for maximum visibility.


Then he asked if there were any volunteers to try EATING the larva, and the KID DID IT.  Apparently it tasted sweet and was very chewy.

This, by the way, is where hell and freezing come in: never is a long time, but I can't envision the scenario short of absolute starvation in which I'd try eating a parasitic fly larva.  Petunia agreed entirely.  Her take?  "Only a *boy* would ever eat one of those...yuck!"  Spoken like a true seven year-old girl.  :)

  



 








2 comments:

  1. That doesn't surprise me at all. :) I've eaten some crazy things in my life (especially in China) but the concept of putting something that is still alive in my mouth is just that bit too much for me.

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