Love – The Story of the Japanese Shield Bug
“To have a profoundly tender affection for someone”

One of the most endearing examples of love and devotion are found in the maternal instincts and behavior patterns of a small group of insects. The Japanese Shield Bug, indigenous to the forests of Japan’s south islands, is a brilliant red and black bug.

These tiny insects entire existence depends on a completely unreliable source of food called drupes. Drupes are small fleshy fruit that fall from one kind of tree, during a particular time of the year. These fruit are so rare, that evolution has forced the breeding period of these little bugs to coincide with the falling of the fruit.
As if this is not difficult enough, the Shield Bug which makes its home in leaves, is forced to take shelter about 40- 50 feet from these trees because the Olacaceae tree does not shed its leaves simultaneously with the ripening of its fruit.
This means the nest will have to be established a few meters away and specially selected ripened fruit will have to be carried to the nest. Only 5% of all drupes that fall are worthy enough to be eaten. Each drupe weighs three times the weight of the bug. This process in itself presents many threats, as other less dedicated mothers often ambush the bug. Some even resort to stealing drupes from unattended nests.
A successful nest will require close to 150 drupes to help nurture the young to independence. To make matters even worse, the young themselves are very temperamental. If they feel that the mother is not providing them with a healthy supply of good drupes, they will leave to join another nest, where they will be welcomed openly. A dedicated mother who cannot find good drupes for her young will make the ultimate sacrifice. She will provide her body as food for her young. Even in successful nests she will be their last meal before reaching independence.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – Corinthians 13:17

One of most important components of preparing to succeed is maintaining a healthy balance in life. An integral part of that healthy balance focuses on nurturing holistic relationships with your family, friends and colleagues. Their love and support are vital rungs on the ladder of success. Love needs to be cherished, preserved and never taken for granted, as that love may ultimately be the difference between life and death or mediocrity and excellence. The Shield Bug’s devotion, care, and dedication to raising her young successfully is the greatest example of love in the animal kingdom and is something we should all aspire to. Her sacrifice of life in the name of love is truly inspiring.

“Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place.” – Ice T

From “Lessons from the Wild” Published in 2012
Available online through IBook, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc
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