Friday, January 10, 2014

Natural selection


I have blogged a walking stick insect once before. Here's one that made the mistake of climbing up our screen door, foregoing its usual camouflage. "Look at me!" it seems to shout. Maybe it got bored with invisibility. I mean, who wouldn't?

The two great imperatives of natural selection are sex and death (just ask Woody Allen). Have more of the former. Avoid the latter. As for sex, females of many species prefer a flamboyant suitor -- the gaily-feathered bird, the technicolored fish. Here I am, look at me, advertises the male, all gussied up in conspicuous duds, fit as a fiddle. Other creatures seem to prefer staying alive as a reproductive strategy. Hide from predators, catch sex on the fly. Like our insect here. Don't know if it's male or female, sexual, bisexual or parthenogenic. But put in on the buttonwood tree and it disappears into the environment. How it finds a mate I'll never know.

Humans seem to adopt either strategy –- peacocks or walking sticks. Here on the island I go for walking stick invisibility, blending in, snuggling with my sweet spouse of fifty-five years. But I have a fire-engine red Hawaiian shirt for those few times we go out and about. There are pretty tourists about who bring out my Darwinian peacock.