Originating in the northwestern mountains of Mexico, Mexican jumping beans (Laspeyresia saltitans) begin their lives when the mother moth lays its eggs in the flowers of a native fern in early summer. When the flowers mature, they turn into pie-shaped seed pods, which split apart to entrap moth larva in sections resembling slices of a pie. Mid-summer rains cause each 1-cm-diameter seed pod section, or “bean,” to drop from the fern to the ground. To escape from the hot sun, the entrapped larva must quickly find shady areas where the temperature is cooler, and spends the next 6-8 months in the seed pod jumping and rolling around to seek out shade.
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