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Butterfly School- One Explorer's Metamorphosis Diary

April 29, 2019

Butterfly School- One Explorer's Metamorphosis Diary



Adoption Day- Day 1

On April 8, my Wonder Club Explorer adopted not one but six caterpillars.  He marveled at these tiny little creatures inching their way around their cup.  A proud guardian, my Explorer named his new buds Johnny, Tommy, Sally, Grassie, Richard and Bananny.  He was tickled.

Caterpillars in a Cup Day 5

Caterpillars in a Cup- Day 5

Over the course of the next week, my little Explorer observed the larva stage of metamorphosis.  His caterpillars have since doubled in size.  As the caterpillars grew, they shed their exoskeleton and evidence of their molt could be seen inside the container.  Once we figured out that the hairy little balls were part of the shed, we knew our caterpillars were thriving in their habitat.

Butterfly Chrysalis Carrier

Caterpillars in a Cup- Day 7

It seems that in just two days, our little caterpillars have quadrupled in size from when we first adopted them.  Their cup is starting to look a lot like my little Explorer's room- messy!  Between the molt, other droppings and newly spun silk, the habitat is looking a little unkempt.


We decided that today would be a good day to begin building the caterpillars their chrysalis station.  We used a recycled box, picked sticks and pine cones from the yard, and painted everything in bright, cheerful colors.

 

Caterpillars in a cup- Day 9

Caterpillars in a Cup- Day 9

Time for alphabet practice!  We honed in on the letter "J" and began looking for our caterpillars to move into a "J" formation.  One by one, they started hanging from the lid of their cup in the shape of a "J."

There was one holdout, however, who was late to transition.  More on that wacky display later.

 

Caterpillars in a cup- Pupa Stage

Pupa Stage! Day 10

In just one day, the caterpillars have moved into the pupa stage.  We waited two days just to be sure and on Day 12, we removed the lid from their cup and placed it into the chrysalis station.  About that one caterpillar that was late to the pupa party?  Well, as soon as the lid was placed into the chrysalis carrier it started wriggling about which made us nervous.  We thought he might knock down the other cocoons.

 Butterflies emerging from their cocoon

A Butterfly Emerges!- Day 20

Throughout the last 10 days, we checked on the cocoons and said "hi" whenever we passed through the room where the carrier was stored.  One minute we were discussing how much longer this stage of metamorphosis would last and the next minute we heard fluttering wings inside the box.  We immediately cut an orange to provide the butterflies nectar and nutrients.  We even noticed red splotches on the counter outside of the carrier which meant that the butterflies had released urine as part of their transformation process. Whoa! Gross!

 Butterfly Release Day

 Butterfly Release Day- Day 21

Today was the big day!  We carefully transported our chrysalis carrier outside.  We wished our newly emerged butterflies well on their journey and on the count of 3... their wings fluttered and their metamorphosis was complete.

Final Thoughts?

Raising and releasing butterflies was an amazing adventure and a great way to teach my Wonder Club Explorer about science and nature.  This was super fun and a great way for him to earn his "Nature Explorer Merit Patch."

P.S. A special thank you to Kidspace Children's Museum for bringing a big smile to this Wonder Club Explorer's face.