Friday, October 2, 2009

Metamorphosis

On the day they arrived, the caterpillars were so small, you had to look closely in order to see them. They didn't do anything except sit there -- perhaps from the trauma of traveling via FedEx from California.
By Day 3, the caterpillars had grown a lot, were busy exploring the small jar they call home now, and eating quite a bit.
By the morning of Day 6, one caterpillar had attached himself to the paper disk on the inside of the lid of the jar, was hanging upside down,very still, intent on beginning the process of changing. How exciting! I told Delaney, "Not even Mama can pick up the jar today. The caterpillars have to be left alone." Other caterpillars roamed around the lid of the jar, ostensibly looking for a spot to build a chrysalis.

By Day 8, all of them had formed chrysalides, and were ready for transfer to the hatching habitat. We're not sure what all that yucky stuff is, but it's probably poop.

With surgical skill, Tim and I transferred the chrysalides to their hatching habitat. Sorry it's a bad picture, but it's hard to take a picture of something that's behind mesh.

On the morning of Day 16, we saw this guy.
On the afternoon of Day 17, the second and third butterflies hatched in quick succession. The fourth hatched that evening.

I got somewhat better pictures when I turned the habitat around. The wadded paper towels at the bottom are soaked in sugar water for the butterflies to drink. Dropping them in is a task that Delaney enjoyed. Below is a butterfly eating with its proboscus.
And here is butterfly release day! Delaney was very hands-on with this. I was relieved she didn't smash the poor things.

1 comment:

  1. What a great learning experience! Where did you get them from???

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