YUCCA AND MOTH
Without the tiny white Pronuba moth, the large Yucca plant would die. This desert plant appears like a cluster of sharp swords pointing out in all directions. Out of its center arises the stalk of a bright, beautiful flower that looks something like a white lily.
Hiding in the ground is a small moth which never comes out during the day. It only comes out at night, on certain nights.
The flower, in turn, only blooms at certain times of the year and only at night. When it blooms, immediately the Pronuba moths break out of their cocoons beneath the sand.
What brought them out of their hiding places down in the desert sand at exactly that moment? How could a tiny wasp in the ground know that a flower had bloomed? No one knows. Struggling up out of the sand, the tiny female moth flies up into the air and circles around until it catches the scent of the flower, and then goes to it.
Arriving there, the moth, which has eaten nothing for a long time, ignores the nectar but instead goes to the top of the stamens of the first flower and, with its tiny feet, carefully scrapes together a wad of pollen that is three times as big as its head. Holding onto it with its jaws and legs (it was born with specially enlarged ones for this purpose),the insect flies to another Yucca plant. Backing down into the heart of a flower, the moth pierces a hole with an egg-laying needle (a lancelike ovipositor) and lays eggs among the seed cells in the green pod at the base of the pistil.
Next, the insect climbs to the top of the pistil on that same flower. It has a cavity just the right size to receive the wad of pollen. Carefully the moth stuffs the cavity with the pollen. The top of the pistil looks like there is a funnel-shaped opening within it. Into that opening the moth pushes the pollen. By doing this, seeds will grow at the base of that particular pistil.
But it was at that same base that the moth laid its eggs. Some of those seeds will provide food for the baby insects when they are later born. If the moth pushed the pollen into the top of the wrong pistil, its babies would die.
Time passes as the Pronuba eggs mature and the Yucca seeds ripen. When the moth’s larvae (caterpillars) emerge from their eggs, they are surrounded by delicious food. They eat and grow larger but never eat all the seeds. Their nutritional needs never require eating all the seeds at the base of that particular pistil.
Then, about two months after hatching, each one cuts a hole through the pod, spins a silk thread, and lets itself down to the ground. Arriving there, it digs a hole, crawls in, and waits about ten months till the next flowering.
But what happened to that mother moth? After flying to one flower, taking pollen to another, laying eggs and pollinating the pistil, the little moth dies. After leaving the ground it never once eats, but only does its work of providing for the future of its babies and the Yucca plant.
There is still more: Each species of Yucca plant has its own special moth! The flower is so constructed that it can only be pollinated by one particular type of moth.
During certain years, the flowers do not appear on the plants. If the moths came out at that time, they would die, and the Yuccas would die later on. But, instead, the moths only come out when the flowers appear, even if the moths have to wait till the second or third year to come out of the ground!
The genius of Nature is but a reflection of her Creator!