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Caterpillar Watch!

3rd May 2020

We have set the butterflies free! I did a little video, although the butterfly stayed on my hand for such a long time we had to shorten it! 
What an amazing process metamorphosis is. It was great to see them all flying away to lay eggs and begin the whole progress again! 

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1st May 2020

Three butterflies and counting. I have had them next to me all day whilst I have been working from home. I am hoping to see a butterfly emerge, but they tend to do it whilst I am not looking! 
I have been feeding them fruit and flowers dipped in sugar water. This gives them lots of energy. I'll be letting them out in my garden this weekend. 

10s

29th April 2020

We have two butterflies! It is amazing to see. 

At first the butterfly's wings will be soft and crumpled. Then they will slowly stretch and force liquid into their veins to strengthen their wings. Once the wings are formed, the butterfly expels the leftover red liquid used to expand its wings, called 'meconium'. Don't worry, this is not blood! It's not the prettiest, but its vital for wing formation. 

 

28th April 2020

The chrysalides are starting to darken... I wonder what that means? Maybe they are nearly ready to emerge! 

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22nd April 2020

After 7-14 days, our painted lady butterflies should emerge from the chrysalides. Let the waiting begin... Don't worry - I am talking to them every day!

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13th April 2020 - It's all happening now!

See them become chrysalides

After 7-14 days, your caterpillars will climb to the top of the cup and attach themselves to the paper disk under the lid. They will hang in a J shape, shed their exoskeletons one last time and harden into chrysalides.

Here's what I did... 

Wait 2/3 days while your caterpillars become chrysalides. Do not handle the cup during this important time. They may look like they are resting but an amazing transformation is taking place inside! The caterpillar's entire body liquifies during this process and it will 'morph' into a butterfly. 

Moving chrysalides to the butterfly habitat. 

After 3 days, the chrysalides were fully hardened. I gently opened the cup and removed the lid with the chrysalides attached. I removed any extra webbing (if the silk is not removed, their wings can become entangled when they emerge). Then gently I picked up the chrysalides that had fallen to the bottom of the cup with a spoon and placed them safely in the net. 

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What is a 'Chrysalis'?

A chrysalis is a 'pupa'. When a caterpillar changes into a chrysalis, it is 'pupating'. Chrysalides are always bare. A cocoon does not surround them - if you look closely at the chrysalis, it looks just like the caterpillar's skin. A butterfly emerges from a chrysalis; a moth emerges from a cocoon. 

Chrysalis = single (one). 

Chrysalides = plural (more than one)

Information taken from 'Insect Lore' leaflet. 

The caterpillars are practising their acrobatics this morning. Surely it must be time to chrysalis soon? They are looking quite big now! 

3rd April 2020

small 4x

30th March 2020

small 3

They're getting so big! Can't be long now till they start the next stage of their life cycle: chrysalis.

Here are some questions and answers about this stage of the metamorphosis, taken from the 'Insect Lore' guidance sheet:

Q: What are the little brown balls appearing in my cup of caterpillars?

A: Those little balls are 'frass', or caterpillar poo!  It means your caterpillars are eating and growing. 

Q: Why are my caterpillars spinning silky webbing?
A:  It is a good sign if you see webbing in your cup of caterpillars. The webbing protects the caterpillars from many dangers. Caterpillars use webbing to stick to their host plants, as the wind could easily blow them off the leaves. Their true front legs have hooks which they use to walk on the silk like a ladder. 

Isn't that amazing? Miss Drewery

 

 

The caterpillars are getting much bigger. They are releasing their webbing and shedding their exoskeletons, ready to form their chrysalis and begin the amazing process of metamorphosis

* You could find the defintions of the bold words if you are unsure what they mean  

27th March 2020

2 small

25th March 2020

1 small(1)

Very Hungry Caterpillars...

As we can't all be in school together, I have brought our caterpillars home with me for the foreseeable future. They are very cosy in my living room at the moment. I will be updating you all of their progress, as they transition from caterpillar, to chrysalis and finally into butterflies. 

At the moment, they are eating lots and getting much bigger, ready to chrysalis in a few days time! Watch this space... 

Miss Drewery

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