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We received a letter from a reader

·2 mins

The Marbled White — the butterfly with a Latin name that sounds like a Hogwarts spell: Melanargia galathea. With a wingspan of 37 to 52 millimeters, this master of camouflage flutters through Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia.

In some languages, it’s known as the “chessboard” butterfly. But what do we really know about this winged wonder? It seems marbled whites are not immune to negative feelings. The weekly Arthropod Bulletin received a letter from Susanne, an annoyed Melanargia galathea, which we print here verbatim:

Dear Arthropod Bulletin,

I often wonder what is wrong with humans. Do they really think they’re funny? Too often, when I fly by, I hear these silly “chessboard” references. “Look, a flying chess set!” or “butterfly chess!” And those curious looks and comments when I settle on knapweeds or scabious. In some languages, for example in German, I’m simply called “das Schachbrett” (the chessboard). Seriously now?

But that’s not my only problem. Many people seem to think butterflies are born as aesthetic wonders. They have no idea about the struggles we go through. Metamorphosis is no walk in the park! From egg to caterpillar, to pupa, and finally to butterfly — it’s a tough journey full of dangers and challenges. A little respect would be nice. Ever thought about how we feel starting off as unappealing caterpillars and then fighting through the entire transformation process? We have to hide from predators, find enough food, and have the right conditions to pupate. And then, when we finally emerge as butterflies, we have to find the right partners and ensure our offspring have a chance. It’s dizzying with all the responsibilities!

And then there is this incredible arrogance of humans, considering themselves the most intelligent species. Seriously? Beings with higher consciousness have a responsibility to take care of their planet. But what do they do instead? They cover the Earth with trash, let plastic waste choke the oceans, and poison the atmosphere with numerous pollutants. They trample the soil that nourishes them, contaminating it with chemicals and destroying the habitats of countless creatures. They strip the rivers, which provide life, of their purity with industrial waste. Is this the behavior of an intelligent species? Maybe they should spend a season as a caterpillar — some humility would certainly improve their perspective.

Flutteringly yours, Susanne