Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why Do Mexican Jumping Beans Jump?

Mexican jumping beans are found only in a few small areas of Mexico, where a jumping bean is known as a brincador -- or "hopper". The jumping bean capital of the world is widely considered to be Alamos, Mexico. A small historical town located in the Mexican state of Sonora. In the spring the female jumping bean moth lays eggs on the blooming flowers of the (Sebastiana Pavoniana) tree. Several weeks later the eggs hatch, and the very small worm insect eats into the small pod or "bean" of the host flower. The pod or "bean" slowly hardens and the moth larva which is now living inside begins to feed on the interior of the pod. Usually in July, heavy monsoonal rains occur in this region of Mexico, and it is these rains that cause the pods to fall to the ground. Once the pod or "bean" falls to the ground; the pods that have a moth larva living inside will begin to "jump and bounce" around on the ground. Jumping beans "jump" as a means of surviving. This enables them to bounce to a cooler place to avoid the intense heat and the sun. Eventually, after several months, the larva will go dormant and start to spin a cocoon inside the pod. After this stage, metamorphosis will occur, and a jumping bean moth will emerge from the pod through a small hole. Fascinating!

Another common question is, "How long do Mexican jumping beans jump?" If stored in a cool and dark environment, they remain dormant, where they can remain alive for up to one year. They are very durable, but there are a few things that will harm them. They must not be exposed to freezing temperatures; they cannot survive freezing temperatures even for a short period of time. And, to keep them alive for long periods of time, they must also get some moisture. Once every 4 to 5 weeks, the jumping beans should be soaked in bottled or distilled water for approximately 4 to 6 hours. Overall, jumping beans are very easy "pets" to take care of!

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