Reflection: Interspecies Communication
Follow the Leader with a Butterfly
By Shanti Harris (05/11/09 14:18:37)
Related animal: Insect

After a day's hike on Santa Cruz Island, I had come across a white butterfly on my my way down a steep hill. This butterfly flew by my side for ten minutes. Sometimes I would stop and watch the butterfly land on a leaf or flower. After a minute or so, I walked onward, but this butterfly would vacate it's previous destination and continue by my side. It was strange, almost as if I was taking a walk with this white winged insect, and it was just as aware.

About ten minutes into the walk with the butterfly, it began to take the lead. I sensed it just wanted me to follow, so I did. We were both taking the same path, but for some reason it decided to be the navigator, the leader. I followed for about five minutes and then stopped. When I stood still, the butterfly landed on a leaf. It was my turn to lead. I continued walking forward along the trail. I turned my head after a few seconds and found that the butterfly had been following me.

This process had continued until I had reached the end of the path. I would follow, the butterfly would follow. It wasn't until the butterfly and I went our separate ways that I realized I had just played follow the leader with an insect. Maybe the creature would not necessarily call it "follow the leader," but it certainly seemed to have been playing some kind of game related to territory, destination and curiosity.

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