Last weekend, the Free-Ride family sat down to watch a nature program together: Nature: The Queen of Trees. The program looked at the variety of life around a giant fig tree. The central "relationship" in the program was between the tree and a wasp. From the program description:
The wasp and the fig depend on each other for survival. Without the wasp, the tree could not pollinate its flowers and produce seeds. Without the fig, the wasp would have nowhere to lay its eggs.
The younger Free-Riders were more captivated, however, by some of the secondary characters in the drama.
Younger offspring: Remember that monkey that caught a butterfly?
Elder offspring: Yeah, he reached out and grabbed the butterfly out of the air.
Dr. Free-Ride: Did he eat it?
Elder offspring: Nah, he just held it in his hand and looked at it.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: It's just as well he didn't eat the butterfly. It probably tasted foul.
Elder offspring: Like chicken?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Not that kind of fowl!
Younger offspring: And there was that fruit bat who ate lots of figs.
Elder offspring: He ate and ate and ate, and then --
Both offspring in unison: Squirt!
Younger offspring:Then he licked hiss own butt!
Elder offspring: Then went back upside down and went to sleep.
Younger offspring: There were also the hornbill chicks who lived in the fig tree.
Elder offspring: One died because bees came into the nesting hole in the tree and it kept getting stung.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: It looked like it was trying to catch the bees with its beak.
Dr. Free-Ride: That just didn't discourage those bees. Poor chick.
Younger offspring: Another chick died because it didn't get enough food to eat.
Elder offspring: Yeah, the bigger chick who was a little bit older hogged the food, and there wasn't very much food to begin with, so the littler one just didn't get enough to survive.
Younger offspring: That was sort of mean of the bigger chick.
Elder offspring: And, there was that gecko who licked its eye. That was cool.
Dr. Free-Ride: Yeah, and then that snake showed up, and the picture cut back and forth between happy gecko and hungry snake.
Elder offspring: Then all of a sudden the snake lunges.
Younger offspring: Suddenly the snake was there with the tail wiggling in its mouth.
Dr. Free-Ride: I felt really sad for the gecko.
Younger offspring: Yeah, until we saw the gecko on another branch, without its tail.
Elder offspring: It's cool that the tail keeps twitching so the snake doesn't realize the gecko got away.
Dr. Free-Ride: But the snake ends up thinking, "I just ate; why am I still hungry?"
Images from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/queenoftrees/