A young jackfruit, about 18" long - not yet ripe

A young jackfruit, about 18″ long – not yet ripe

 

Two jackfruit nearing maturity - 2 feet long!  The bags protect them from pests.

Two jackfruit nearing maturity – 2 feet long! The bags protect them from pests.

 

            A rotten jackfruit fell from the tree in back yesterday morning.  The dogs jumped.

When the fruit split open, hundreds of very small green “worms” – actually, larvae of some insect who’d laid her eggs in the fruit – spilled out onto the ground.  They began to leap around the dirt yard.  Astonishing!

They accomplish this prodigious feat by bending themselves into a tight curve, then releasing the curve and springing three inches to the side.  I didn’t look closely enough to see if they have a mechanism – a hook on one end, a catch on the other perhaps – to help them do this.  The springtails that fill our snowy footsteps in New Hampshire with tiny black dots have such a mechanism that allows them to spring even more prodigiously than these green worms.

As they leapt around the yard, I saw ants moving purposefully toward the site of the fruit drop, and some ants returning home with meat for the larder.  We cleaned up the jackfruit and dumped the remains on the compost heap.

This morning, no trace of the worms, but other fruits wait to fall.

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