What represents spring more than butterflies? Butterflies fluttering around in the wild flowers immediately makes me think of spring. If you follow my blog, you have seen many, many butterfly pictures through the years.
For some reason, I decided that I really wanted to watch a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis this year. In years past all I needed to do was walk outside to find a caterpillar, but not this year. The little guys must have known my motive!
I resorted to ordering caterpillars online. The little guys showed up in a small containers with all of their needs met. The process is amazing. The caterpillars were about 1.5 centimeters when they arrived. However, those hungry little caterpillars doubled in size within days!
When each caterpillar decided it had eaten enough to survive for 7-10 days without eating, it climbed to the top of the container and hung upside down. It then curled up into a J formation and attempted to form a chrysalis (I say attempted because the other caterpillars liked to poke the ones in a J). After about 45 minutes, the caterpillars would expand its body and secrete some substance (this is the technical name for it, I am sure). Next the exoskeleton was shed while the chrysalis began forming. Finally, the little guy would move its body until it was spinning for about 60 seconds. It then relaxed and began its change!
For 7-8 days, the butterfly habitat was quiet.
The day of butterflies! We spent almost an entire day watching the butterflies emerge from each chrysalis. Is is amazing! Did you know that they use their eyes to break a whole in the chrysalis? I had no idea. Then they pull themselves out.
Out of 12 caterpillars, all 12 survived but one was injured. It had a very difficult time emerging from its chrysalis and it must have injured its wings in the process (we named him Chuck after Chuck Norris who played Walker Texas Ranger).
Yesterday we released the butterflies into the garden!