Monday, August 03, 2009

Raising Butterflies

On July 17, we found a caterpillar on our milkweed. We decided to take it in and feed it. About 10 minutes later, Calvin found a second caterpillar, so we had two to take care of. We put them in half-gallon canning jars.

They ate, and ate, and ate (they poop a lot too!). We kept feeding them milkweed and cleaning out the jars. On July 21, one of the caterpillars started to form a chrysalis. They hang in this "J" shape for a while.

The next day, we had a chrysalis! We eventually moved them to an aquarium I got from a friend.

On Saturday afternoon (August 1), I took this picture. Isn't it cool? You can see the butterfly forming.

Overnight, the chrysalis turned black. I was told that this meant the butterflies would be emerging within a few hours. So we kept watch.

We missed seeing the first butterfly actually come out of the chrysalis, but saw it soon afterwards. The butterfly's body is so fat and the wings are so little!

A few minutes later, you can see that the wings are already 'growing'. We then decided to camp in front of the aquarium so that we wouldn't miss the birth of the second butterfly. :) About 30 minutes later, it emerged!

I know the video is a bit dark, shaky and blurry, but it's still cool to see.

After a few hours, it was time to let the butterflies go. We let them go in the back yard.

One of the butterflies took its time flying off, so Calvin got to hold it for a bit.


We found another caterpillar down at the beach last night, so the cycle starts again!


Yarndude said...

Wow, how neat! Very cool video. I loved listening to your kids, it reminded me of my house when I was younger. (There are 12 kids in my family...)

Heather said...

We did this EVERY year when I was a kid--and my mom did it for many years after that, with her home day care, and giving nature presentations at the local schools & the Kettle Moraine State Forest, up until last year, when she was too sick. When you let this new one go, say a prayer for her, please. She lost out to breast cancer last October, just before my Reilly was born.

Gigi said...

That is absolutely amazing! You guys do the coolest things! What wonderful childhood memories you are making.

Patricia said...

That is SO cool!