In March, YES MARCH, I purchased Jax a live butterfly garden for his birthday. My goal was NEVER to wait 5 months to actually do this "experiment", but rather to do it in the beginning of the Summer, giving us something fun to do. Well... life got busy, hectic, AND FUN, and I just forgot.
I applied, online, for the "FREE" caterpillars, the week before school started. I "quoted" the word free because you do have to purchase the kit, but the price of the caterpillars ARE included in the kit. FYI, I purchased this kit at Toys R Us. A small shipping and handling charge of $4.95 to have the caterpillars shipped to you is also required.
When we got back from our last vacation, of the Summer, (which I have yet to blog about), the live caterpillars were in our mailbox. They arrived looking like this! They almost seemed dead to me. I thought maybe they suffocated in the box, he he, but they are just VERY slow moving.
The caterpillars were very small, but tripped in size fast.
I'm sad that I used my iPhone to capture the majority of these photos. I really wanted to be detailed and photograph this experiment to the fullest because I LOVE photographing nature and I thought it would be helpful for anyone interested in possibly doing this insect lore. Oh well...
Once the caterpillars turn into chrysalides, we had to leave the cup alone as to not disturb their transformation process, for 3-4 days. Then, we had to remove a thin layer of paper, that the chrysalides attached to and remove any excess webbing. The butterflies, after emerging, could get tangled into it. This was kind of nerve wracking and gross, just because I am not normally someone who handles bugs well, but I did it.
Then, I had to pin the thin paper lining onto the side of the butterfly garden habitat. Then, we were instructed to wait about 7-10 days for the butterflies to emerge. I REALLLY wanted to capture the LIVE transformation on camera, so I was watching this new setup like a HAWK.
I came home one day and was sitting in my dining room, while talking to a friend on the phone, and I just happened to glance into the butterfly habitat and BAM, just like that, I spotted 3 butterflies. BOO!! I knew it couldn't be LONG before the rest of them would emerge. Their was a small amount of meconium at the bottom of the habitat. It's kind of gross to see because it looks or resembles blood. It's perfectly normal. It's just part of chrysalides that is no longer needed for the butterfly.
I watched the chrysalides move like crazy in their cocoon, but never did I see the butterflies emerge. It was almost as if they sense me being near them, because I would leave the room to do something, come back and BAM, another one would have emerged. Below you can see the thin lining of paper and the empty cocoons.
For four days, we fed the butterflies and enjoyed their beauty. They eat fresh slices of oranges, watermelon, flowers, and sugar water. The directions state to release them within a few days otherwise you will have a plethora of caterpillars eggs, starting all over. This was an amazing experience, but I didn't prefer to do this again x 100.
So on day four, we were ready to release the butterflies. It all happened SOOOO fast because the butterflies seemed so ready to fly away!
It was NOT planned for Lilah to wear her butterfly shirt, but HOW perfect was that shirt for the occasion? LOL!
The cool thing is we have a butterfly bush in our side yard, so maybe we will see them flying around over there. Bye-Bye butterflies!!