by Jake Krauss
Why are there so many of you?
How can I see your true colors when they shift and change depending on the mountaintop upon which I find your beautiful petals?
I thought I found you, my spirit orchid, the one that reminded me so much of the ones I gave to my mother as an early Mother's Day present. The bright yellow colours, ever so reminiscent of a wasp, entice my eyes as I bend down to examine your visage.
Even I, a fool in love, could tell the difference between your sexually deceptive petals and the ones meant to attract the attention of some pollinator from across the forest.
After I take photos of you from every angle, I continue field work hoping to find another just like you. But, since that fateful day, I have not seen one quite like you. I have seen a copycat, one that reminds me of your ways, but never one of identical patterns and proportions.
Are you an example of variation within a species, or are you something else entirely?
Jake Krauss is a 24-year-old biologist and wildlife conservationist currently working in reintroduction biology. Based in Washington D.C., he is usually overseas conducting field research on endangered animal species and figuring out ways to bring them back to their historic ranges. To follow Jake's adventures check out Krauss-ing the World, or follow him on instagram (@jake.krauss) or twitter (@JakeKrauss1),