|They started out so small!|
They grew very quickly, and while they grew, we learned as much about butterflies as we could. We checked out stacks of books from the library, printed out worksheets online, and made lots of butterfly crafts. Here's a sampling of what she made:
|AR & J painted wooden butterfly magnets|
|We put together this wooden butterfly, and then painted it to look like a Painted Lady butterfly.|
|stained-glass butterfly made by melting crayon shavings between two sheets of wax paper with a warm iron|
Anatomy of a butterfly (including scientific names like proboscis, thorax, compound eyes, spiracles, etc.)
Life cycle of a butterfly
Monarch caterpillars and butterflies are poisonous because of the milkweed plant they eat, and animals know not to eat them because of their bright colors and markings.
Painted Lady butterflies (the ones we have) mimic this coloring as a protective measure.
Many butterflies have false eyespots to confuse predators.
Some butterflies migrate thousands of miles.
Butterfly eggs are the size of a pinhead.
You can tell apart a male from a female monarch butterfly by looking for a black scent spot on the bottom of their wings.
Butterflies emit a special smell to attract mates.
The caterpillars shed their skin up to 4 times before their final transformation.
They need a body temperature of 85 degrees in order to fly. They warm themselves up by shivering or basking in the sun.
Painted Lady caterpillars love to eat thistle, a common weed.
Butterflies taste with their feet.
They suck nectar from flowers by unrolling their tongue and using it like a straw.
When a Painted Lady butterfly emerges from it's chrysalis, there is a byproduct of metamorphosis that looks like blood called meconium. (We were glad we learned this one, or else we would have been worried when we saw they red marks all over the cage.)
Here they are getting bigger:
About 10 days after we received the caterpillars, the first caterpillar began making a chrysalis, and the others followed suit shortly after. It's funny to see them hanging from the top of the container looking like a letter "J" before they shed their final layer of skin, which hardens into the chrysalis. After they all were settled in, we transferred them from the small plastic container to the netted butterfly keeper.
|waiting while the mystery transformation happens inside!|
|Josiah is learning to be a scientist|
|I held it first to show the kids that it was safe!|
|It tickles me!|
|See the wings all crumpled up?!|
|enjoying a banana slice|
With Painted Ladies, you can't tell the males from the females, so you never know what you have, but Anna Ruth decided that we had a couple boys in there in addition to Beautiful, so she and James named the big, obnoxious one Dino. We also had a butterfly with a large eyespot on the bottom on his wings, so she named him Eyespot. Another one did not have antennae, had a wierd looking eye, and something wrong with his front left leg, so AR named him Poor Fellow. About a week ago, we noticed that we had did indeed have some of each, because we got to see them mating!