Mexican Jumping Beans
Mexican jumping bean is a very special type of bean that can be very fascinating to watch. These beans are the seed pods of a shrub found in Northern Mexico and the south western United States. These seed pods contain moth larva, undeveloped young insects. Laspeyresia saltitans, a small gray moth, inserts its larva into the seed capsule by laying eggs on the plant of genus Sebastiana. When the eggs hatch, tiny larvae bore into the immature green pods and begin to devour the seeds. These larvae move inside the pod and that is why these beans appear to jump around.
Quick Facts: –
- The Mexican Jumping Beans are mainly found in the mountainous regions of the states of Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua.
- When the stems of Mexican jumping bean shrubs are cut, it exudes a toxic milky sap. It was used by many native Indian tribes to poison the tip of their arrows.
- These jumping beans become active when they are exposed to light or heat.
- The bean starts to jump when the tiny larva inside curl up and uncurl. It hits the capsule’s wall with its head.
- The beans were used in many cartoons in the period between 1930s and 1950s.
- By summer, the jumping bean shrub capsules divide, break open, and the seed is released.
- The Mexican Jumping Beans are usually only sold seasonally, from July to September.
- The scientific name for these jumping beans is Frijoles saltarines.
- Only pods without jumping larvae develop a seed and, later, a plant.
- In their natural environment, monsoon weather tends to keep them plenty hydrated.