This morning on my windshield I found the first lovebug of the season: Plecia nearctica, a member of the family of march flies. It is also known as the honeymoon fly, telephonebug, kissybug, or double-headedbug.
This was a lone male, one of the few times I have seen a lovebug without its partner. Usually they are seen locked in connubial bliss, flying lazily through the air or being splattered on one’s car.
Lovebug flights can number in the hundreds of thousands. The slow, drifting movement of the insects is almost reminiscent of snowfall. Two major flights occur each year, first in late spring, then again in late summer. The spring flight occurs during late April and May, the summer during late August and September. This year, their flight was delayed by the long drought. Flights extend over periods of four to five weeks.
Mating takes place almost immediately after emergence of the females. Adult females live only three to four days, poor things.
I’ve written before about squirrels copulating on the screen enclosure of my back porch. I’ve seen two Southern Black Racers, the oh-so-appropriately named Coluber constrictor priapus, coiled in writhing embrace.
Tonight, while at a stop light, I noticed two Green Anoles—the gentle little chameleonlike lizards who so valiantly tackle the insect population around our homes—mating by the side of the road, their skin now brown, trying hard to blend in with the branch on they were perched. They didn’t seem to care that I was staring at their public canoodling.
Of course, it’s likely they don’t notice us. We are unimportant unless we are threatening them or pushing them out of our way. We are environmental noise, worthy of no special attention, just as humans coupling out of doors would generally ignore the birds or other creatures who might catch sight of them.
On the other hand, I like to believe that Nature thinks sex—whether it be the product of love and affection, or instinctual urge, or conscious choice—is good and blessed and worthy of celebration, or is at the very least nothing deserving shame or judgment. It would be nice if humans could, at least once in a while, embrace Nature’s perspective on such matters.
Postscript: Adam just sent me this photo he took last year at Castaway Point Park of some manatees caught in flagrante delicto. Lovely!
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