Bug of the Week: Cacao Midge

We found our bug of the week today from an unusual source, a children's picture book called No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart, Allen Young and illustrated by Nicole Wong. no-monkeys-no-chocolate(For a full review, see our sister blog, Wrapped In Foil).

You may wonder what a book about chocolate and monkeys has to do with insects. It turns out that cocoa trees grown in open plantations don't make as many seeds as trees grown under the canopy of the rainforest. When scientists began to tease out the reasons why, they found that cocoa flowers are pollinated by a small fly called the cacao midge. The flowers are highly complex, so not just any insect can do the job. The flowers are also not self-pollinated. That means our chocolate bars and hot chocolate are the direct result of the presence of a tiny fly.

What does this fly look like? I was able to find this video of Mark Moffett (the insect photographer equivalent of Indiana Jones) capturing a photograph of the elusive fly.

Now that we know about the cacao fly, I would say chocolate lovers will definitely want to do everything we can to preserve it!

No Monkeys, No Chocolate, by Melissa Stewart, Allen Young and illustrated by Nicole Wong

Publisher: Charlesbridge Pub Inc (August 2013)
ISBN-10: 1580892876
ISBN-13: 978-1580892872

 
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