Monday, August 8, 2011

Adventures with Monarchs

One of the consequences of having a house full of boys is that you can pretty much count on various critters being caught and brought into the house in nets, boxes, or jars. Sometimes this is annoying, as when they brought in a frog from the creek and let it loose in the house. Sometimes it is quite handy, as it is now while we are studying insects for science.

We happen to have an abundance of milkweed in the yard, so the boys have been collecting monarch caterpillars and watching their amazing metamorphosis into beautiful butterflies. It's fascinating to watch, even if it means I have to put up with jars of larvae and chrysalises in various stages lined up in my kitchen windowsill!

A monarch larva in the wild...on a milkweed plant next to the chicken coop

Another tiny larva...can you see it?

This little caterpillar has been happily munching on milkweed leaves (provided daily by Jordan and Joseph) for several days now and is ready to make his chrysalis.

Here he goes...

The next morning he looked like this!

Almost can see the orange and black wings showing through the clear chrysalis.

Beautiful butterfly!

Joseph releasing our first adult monarch outside...don't worry, we carefully let the butterfly climb onto his fingers from inside the jar--we didn't grab it by the wings!

And away it goes!

So far we have watched 2 butterflies go from caterpillar to adult. We have a third one still in a jar in the windowsill, which should be done soon. It is so fun to watch! Now if only I could get as excited about the crickets, beetles, and other assorted bugs we have been studying for science!


Annalia said...

Fun! When we had butterflies (years ago), we had to have them shipped to us!

Jenny said...

Yes, I've thought about doing that before, but I'm too lazy (or maybe just too cheap, lol) to do that! It's awfully convenient when you can pick them off your own weeds! :)

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