We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. ~Maya Angelou

This spring the kids and I tried a little experiment. We ordered butterfly larvae and watched as these teeny tiny caterpillars ate, grew, pupated and morphed into beautiful painted lady butterflies. Here is a little photo blog of our quite successful experiment.

Week one, the larvae arrive!
This was after 3-4 days growth. I'm disappointed I didn't get pictures of them sooner, because these little guys grew fast! At this point the 6 little caterpillars were eating like crazy and practicing making silk for their pupas.

Week 2, the larvae have grown!
At about 8 days old, the larvae have eaten most of their food, doubled in size and are starting to head to the top of the container where they will hang upside down and get ready to form their chrysalis'.

.... and the next day....
the larvae have attached themselves to the top of the container and are ready for their big transformation. I wonder if they "knew" what was about to happen to them, or if something inside them just said that this was the right thing to do, and they trusted that instinct. Oh, to be in the mind of a caterpillar....

We went away for a few days, and came home to this:
Our 6 little larvae had pupated and were beginning to make the transformation of their lives.

We watched and waited for about 10 days, until finally:
Our first butterfly emerged...

One after another they came out of their chrysalis' over the day, and we watched in awe as they hung to dry their wings, occasionally exercising and unwinding their probiscus'. Sadly, 2 of the 6 butterflies did not fare so well. One became trapped in his chrysalis and did not emerge on his own.

After a few days we helped him out, but he only survived for a few days. My daughter showed him such compassion and took the best care she could of him.

Another fell from the chrysalis before he could hang to dry his wings, so they didn't have a chance to unfold properly. He is still alive and with us 2 weeks later, but I'm sure he won't be around much longer. My daughter takes him out every day to say hello and give him some love (including kisses). I hope his short life has been a fairly happy one.

The other four emerged and transformed with no difficulties, and one by one we set them free to explore our glorious earth before their short lives came to an end.

All in all, it was a very successful, educational and FUN experiment. If you ever have the chance to witness the miraculous transformation, I highly recommend it.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
~Rabindranath Tagore


Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing that, it was wonderful to watch (via photo)

It must have been an incredible experience for you and especially for the kids..

Hope you do it again, and share it with us again!


the 'other' Jo

Gerri said...

Very cool Jo! I have to show these pics to Miss B. What a great idea for a experiment. The kids must've been so excited to see the transformation.

Thanks for sharing :)

Gerri aka Budgie Mom from TP

Tiffany Rose said...

Wow Jo last time i tried that i lost the caterpillars then fornd a bunch of butterflies in the garden a week later! That must o been great to watch :)


Kathleen in Canada said...

Gorgeous photos :o)