After a week of nothing, today I have seen changes in some of the chrysalids. Before the butterflies emerge they go a lot darker and you can see some of the colours on the wings.
I picked Isaac up from school at lunchtime and came home with his friend Alfie and Alfie’s mum Steph in tow. I checked to see if anything had happened and it hadn’t so got on with making lunch. You turn your back for 5 minutes and look what happens:
The butterfly rests in a vertical position while pumping its wings to full size. The butterflies do this by forcing blood under pressure into the veins of the wings. As the wings expand, the butterfly begins to join the two halves of the proboscis together. It is very important not to disturb the butterfly as it is important that she accomplishes this whist the two halves are still soft and pliable.
One or two hours after the butterfly has emerged the wings will be full sized and hardened. Now the butterfly is ready to fly!!
Don’t be alarmed by the red stain in the picture – it is meconium and is left over from the formation of the wings.
I just want to reassure you that the butterfly is OK and made it to the netting (eventually).
As you can see, we decorated our habitat. Butterflies like to eat fruit, but I also added some nectar (sugar water) with a pipette which was supplied with the kit.
You can see the butterflies smell with its antennae and taste with its two front legs. It is fascinating to see it unfurl its proboscis, drink the nectar, then roll it back again. We observed the butterflies for a couple of days and then released them into the wild – a bit of a challenge as they didn’t want to leave!
So would I recommend this kit?
Isaac is just 4 and is able to confidently describe the change from caterpillars to butterflies and he took a real interest in all the changes. Even Eliza at 1 loved watching the caterpillars move around and got really excited seeing the butterflies. She can even sign “Butterfly” now.
We still have one that I am sure will emerge today, so I hope to get some more beautiful pictures to show you all, and whats more – you can re-use the kit, so only have to buy the caterpillars if you want to do it all over again!