Monday, September 18, 2006

They're BAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKK!!

Alrighty, we've almost perfected what we attempted last summer. . .remember this?? This time we decided to go it on our own and try to find some caterpillars ourselves. We have a little bike path that connects to the next street and there are plenty of plants along the way. We found tons of milkweed growing and Matt used his eagle eyes to even find eggs this year. The girls had a great time hunting for milkweed and were so excited and would run in the house telling me how many eggs and caterpillars they had found!!
See those miniscule white spots on the leaves? Yep, them are eggs! After a few days they grow a little blackhead on them (yep, that's how I'd describe it) and before you know it a tiny little caterpillar is climbing out.
It doesn't take long before they're growing like crazy!
Here's the classic "J". That means that it's ready to change into it's chrysalis. You can see we've got quite a few up there and some that have already come out. This year I actually managed to see a few change. It's still pretty creeping but kind of cool. They split their caterpillar skin and start to wiggle out of it, and within just a couple minutes they're all done.



I thought this picture looked a little alien like. . . ."It appears some strange species has implanted itself upon our planet. . ."
Here you can see a little better the actual butterfly wings inside the chrysalis. It's turns clear so you can see the butterfly colors really well, then within about 14 hours out comes the butterfly. I was amazed at how tiny their wings are when they come out. You can see the difference in size. The one in the middle was the last one to emerge. It doesn't take too long for their wings to be full size. After a few hours (their wings have to dry out) you can pick them up on your finger and take them out. They usually stay around for a few more hours before they take off.
This was the day we had 8 butterflies emerge! Crazy.
Here are the girls with our neighbors. We've, I mean THEY'VE, had a fun summer with the caterpillars.

Ok, after typing that out I realized that I know WAY too much about Monarchs. I think I should be all set for the middle-age science fair! Sweet!

9 comments:

Kage said...

cool. I want to do that with my girls...any tips? b/c you know I am not going out to find the eggs in the wilderness....

LuckyRedHen said...

I wish I lived in YOUR neighborhood.

Hollie said...

That is very cool!

wendysue said...

Kage, try www.monarchwatch.com. I think they ship east of the Rocky's so that would include you. Then you could just buy some milkweed plants and you'd be all set. The girls would love it. Whenever we're in the kitchen Whitney keeps making the sign for butterfly and pointing at our little containers!

LRH--Can you imagine the craziness? Don't get me started. . .just think of all us blogggers on the same block!!

lisa v. clark said...

Don't knock science fairs. Really cool people enter science fairs.

Lyle said...

That is really neat. All the caterpillars we've brought inside the house have died.

wendysue said...

LVC--I think you meant to say incredibly talented, intelligent, super cool people enter and WIN science fairs!!

AzĂșcar said...

I can't wait to do this with the kids (in 3-4 years when I can hope they won't kill the things before they have a chance to live.


My new favorite Science Fair story.

compulsive writer said...

We used to do monarchs! They are so fun. My son got involved with the Monarch Program of southern California and they sent us a whole bunch of tagged butterflies to release one summer so they could track them. They actually recovered a few. We also used to do some volunteer tagging for them. It was a lot of fun. I was kind of sad when he grew out of it.

Enjoy!