The Green Bug
The green bug, Acyrthosiphon cannabis, is a member of the aphid family that is found exclusively in Jamaica. Like other aphids, his diet consists of plant sap. But not just any plant will do for the green bug.
The green bug is found exclusively on plants of the cannabis genus. The initial reason for this behavior is not known, although several theories have been presented. The most notable of those suggests that since wild cannabis plants are extremely robust against bug predation, the individuals that did manage to feed of them would find very little competition, thereby gaining a selective edge that would, over time, turn them into a fully separate species.
There is another advantage that green bugs derive from their food. Like a number of insects, green bugs are capable of storing toxic waste-products of their food inside their bodies, thus making them unappealing to predators. In addition, the sequestration of these toxic chemicals within a special organ allows them to protect themselves from its adverse effects. In the case of the green bug, it is the THC molecules that are stored and used for defense. But although most animals are discouraged from preying on the green bug due to this mechanism, the same can not be said for humans.
The green bug has an important place in local culture and spiritualism, most notably in the Rastafarian community. It is considered by many to be a holy bug, containing answer that the wise may hear when under its spell. However, the arrival of ganja-tourism has jeopardized the future of this remarkable creature.
It seems that ganja-tourists are overwhelming the local green bug population, and consuming the animal in what some might call an unhealthy, and what certainly is an unsustainable, way. This has caused the Jamaican green bug population to plummet in recent years. In addition, several reports seem to indicate that the bug has been smuggled outside of its original habitat, and is now being cultivated the world over. How this will affect local aphid populations, as well as wild plants and animals, has yet to be seen.
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