Word of the Month (there are two this time!)
metamorphosis: a change in physical appearance
exoskeleton: the external skeleton that supports and protects an animal's body
(If you come by the library and can use one of these words correctly in a sentence, you can earn a bookmark!)
Author Spotlight on . . . Eric Carle!
Just found out a friend of ours met Eric Carle a few years ago! Here's Reagan (below) with Mr. Carle. Wow!
Painted Lady Butterfly Fun Facts
How long is the Painted Lady Butterfly life cycle?
Approximately 3 weeks. Females lay eggs 5 -7 days after emerging from the chrysalis. The eggs hatch after 3 days. Caterpillars emerge from the eggs and eat for 10 - 12 days before forming the chrysalides. Adult butterflies emerge from the chrysalides in 7 - 10 days.
What is the webbing?
The webbing is very normal. They spin the webbing in nature to wrap a leaf around them so predators will not see them. It also helps them to walk on the side of the cup. They can chew out of it when they want to.
What is a group of butterflies called?
Groups of butterflies are known as a "swarm", "rabble", "kaleidoscope" or "flutter" of butterflies.
What does the word "larva" mean?
"Larva" is another word for "caterpillar."
What is happening inside the chrysalis?
The caterpillar parts are liquefying and re-arranging to become the cells, tissues and organs of the butterfly. In a few days, you will be able to see the outline of the wings of the butterfly beneath the pupal shell!
What is the red liquid I see as my butterflies emerge?
Your butterflies will expel a red liquid called meconium. This is the leftover part of the caterpillar that was not needed to make the butterfly. This is stored in the intestine of the butterfly and expelled after the butterfly emerges.
The Museum of Natural History in Florida has an excellent question and answer page on their website. Click here to learn some great information about butterflies. There you will learn the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis, the sizes of the biggest and smallest butterfly and so much more!
A caterpillar makes a chrysalis
I invite you to click on the buttons below to watch a Monarch and a Painted Lady wrap themselves in a chrysalis, the protective coating that is home to the caterpillar as it transforms into a butterfly. Then, keep clicking to watch them emerge from their chrysalis and become beautiful butterflies! It's an amazing process to witness. Enjoy!
When the Monarch and Painted Lady are in the larval or caterpillar stage, they are very big eaters. Once they have grown completely, they find a safe place and hang upside down. A silk thread comes out of a hole just below the caterpillar’s mouth (called a spinneret) and the caterpillar spins a silk pad that it will hang from. In roughly 24 hours, the top layer of the caterpillar’s skin splits and underneath is the chrysalis, which hardens and becomes golden in color. They stay in this protected coating for 7 to 10 days before emerging as a beautiful butterfly.
(My son suggested I use the Harlem Shake song, but I couldn't make it work.) It is a natural instinct for the chrysalis to shake if it thinks a predator is near. In this video, a caterpillar was crawling around the chrysalis. Watch it shake (A LOT)!
This is the same type of caterpillar/butterfly we observed at Camp Read Smore as we prepared for our Author Spotlight on Eric Carle.
Notice the beauty and amazing things happening around you! This chrysalis was found outside someone's house in Japan. They filmed it so we could watch the butterfly emerge. Always look around you! Maybe you'll find one some day to watch, too!
I'm sure you will want to clap at the end just like our kindergarteners did!