Saturday, May 6, 2017

4-H Butterfly Emergence Project: Part 3

If you happen to be curious, you can head over to this link for Part 1, and to this link for Part 2 of our Butterfly emergence project.

Today, we pick up on day 21 as we continue to just wait and watch.

Day 21 Photo--

FOUR chrysalis now!  Caterpillars number 12 and number 11 were added to the others who had already formed their chrysalis.  A few more should be coming soon.  Thanks to a smart friend who is also doing this project, you can see in the photo that we have fashioned some Chrysalis hammocks.  Haha!  We were given glue dots to fashion the lid tops to our mesh bag (the chrysalis themselves are attached to the lids with the caterpillars silk) and the glue dots did not work.  After our first one fell more than once, I moved onto duck tape which also didn't work and then my friend said that she found needle and thread to be tedious but it held them up.  Chrysalis safety is of utmost importance around here.

In other news, we have officially declared caterpillar number 7 dead.  Certainly sad, but it is part of the life cycle indeed.  

Day 28 Photos--

We FINALLY have our first two butterflies who have emerged from their chrysalis.  This has been a whole lot more waiting and watching than anyone anticipated.  Still waiting on the rest, and with our supplies due back to 4-H in only a few days, I'm a little nervous that they will not be out in time.  

You can sort of see the broken chrysalis in the left of this photo that one of the butterflies emerged from.

Some banana and sliced strawberry was put in for them to munch on.  And as you can see, the wings of the "Painted Lady butterflies" are orange with black spots. 


Out of 12 caterpillars, we ended up with 8 painted lady butterflies.  We released 4 of them into the wild on Sunday April 30th, and then see below that we released the last 4 on Saturday May 6th.

Lost count of the days (haha!):  Butterfly release video

Having caterpillars was definitely a fun learning experience for the kids.  Leeland says "seeing the chrysalis" was his favorite part of watching the cycle and Hayden says "releasing the butterflies" was his favorite part.  I have to say that they took WAY longer to transform and go through the cycle than I ever anticipated, and for that reason, I'm not sure that I would keep them again.  Or if we ever decided to watch and release them again, maybe I would wait until further into Summer in hopes that the heat would be better for them.  Remember from my first post, their ideal temperature is 85 degrees so I sort of wonder if the wonky NC weather made the cycle longer.  Regardless, still fun to learn about them and watch them for sure!  Hope you all enjoyed learning and watching right along with us. 

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