Tuesday, May 27, 2008

our butterflies

Aunt Laura Beth and Uncle Brian got the kids a butterfly kit. You get the 'cage' and send off for the larvae and get to watch the process of them growing as caterpillars into their chrysalid all the way to coming out as beautiful butterflies. It was an amazing experience to see. I so wish we'd been able to get more pictures, but they are sent in a jar and then hang in the top of the 'cage' and can't be disturbed and such so it was too hard we found to get pictures before the butterfly stage. here are a few of our painted lady beauties on their release day...

the kids kept a 'butterfly journal' every day during this. We were amazed that they grew 1/2" in a day one day as caterpillars. They just ate and ate just like the Very Hungry Caterpillar, it was amazing to watch them grow really every morning they had changed. Then they hung on the top of their little 'bowl' they came in and quickly...i mean some in minutes it seemed...spun their cocoons. And guess what happened? Their HEAD'S came off. their heads hung outside of the cocoons and detached and fell into the bottom of the bowl. When they immerged the head was totally different. I just always had the vision of a caterpillar growing wings. I knew when I thought about it it wasn't true, but when they say they come out a 'new creature' they aren't kidding. It in NO way resembled the previous creature!!

So the day they came out they were out in about 30 min. And then they must hang to dry before they can fly...and not be disturbed, they are delicate at that point......WELL...first do not be alarmed by what looks like blood in the 'cage' and on the sugar water papertowel, it's just part of the process of the colors on the wings, etc...

BUTTTT.....DO be alarmed by the butterfly with only part of a wing and what you can't see in one picture is the SMUSHED butterfly on the side of the cage. We had a neighbor come over to play that exciting day they came out of the cocoons. While MaryKyle and John Mark screamed for him to stop he got overly curious & shook and smushed and by the time I got there, there was nothing that could be done. We thought we'd lost them all. We ended up only losing two (one was only half immerged and the one crushed on the side of the cage). We didn't release the one with the partial wing. We let him live the high life his two weeks on this earth feasting on fresh orange every day. The morning we got up and found him laying on his side about to die, we took him outside on a fresh orange slice and placed him in the japanese maple to enjoy at least his last few hours in the wind and sun!!

Other than that fateful horrible day watching these amazing creatures be crushed, I HIGHLY recommend getting this and letting your kids watch the process!! We all (Even some of our neighbors and friends) got into watching the progress every day! Just be sure to put them out of reach when others are around that might get so intrigued and don't know how delicate they are.

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