Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring has sprung

Ya es primavera, according to El Corte Inglés. And who am I to argue, especially when there are:

daisies in the grass........buds on the trees.........
and caterpillars on the pavements..........................

If you're not a fan of creepy-crawlies, these little guys won't change your opinion. Habibi spotted them wriggling nose-to-tail outside Retiro, three days after I'd spotted another four in a row on the other side of town. When I pointed them out, all four people with me shot back, crying "Don't touch them! Don't touch them!" Never mind that these cute little fluffies do not turn into butterflies, they pack a sting like a cigarette burn. After messing with one of these, Stuart's beloved pooch nearly died, and had to be whisked off to the vet. So don't touch them!

And please, please, don't eat the daisies, either.

P.S. A link to Iberian Nature, and a video on the Pine Processionary Moth and its orugas (caterpillars). Scroll down: As every Spanish child knows, don't even think about handling the hairy caterpillars of the pine processionary moth ( procesionarias in Spanish). If they are touched, their hairs release an extremely nasty allergic skin reaction. Children have been known to go temporarily blind from rubbing their eyes after picking them up. They live in easily identifiable silvery nests in pine trees throughout Mediterranean Spain and get their name from their habit of forming head-to-tail trails as they move across land. Also see Forum on pine processionary caterpillarsIn depth look at the problem of the Pine processionary caterpillar (Thaumetopoea pityocampa).

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