Saturday, June 11, 2016

Caterpillars, Chrysalises and Butterflies!

I mentioned before in another post that we really enjoyed watching our painted lady larvae morph through the different stages and then we loved releasing the beautiful butterflies.  My aunt and uncle gifted the kids with a kit that included 8 painted lady larvae.  We fed them and took care of them, watched them created the chrysalises and then watched them come out of those as beautiful butterflies.

 Well, we got to experience that again in another way.  We have fennel in our front herb garden.  Fennel happens to be a host plant for the Black swallowtail butterfly to lay their eggs on.  So, we were fortunate to get to see the beautiful caterpillars devour that plant.

They started out so tiny!
They were just so pretty!

This guy enjoyed watching them as well!

But, when the caterpillar is ready to make its chrysalis, it goes far away from the fennel plant to find a different place the form its chrysalis.  We found several around our property.  

One began forming its chrysalis on one of our pomegranite plants. 
Here is another one forming one on the side of our house. 
Others continued to eat the plant and grow bigger and bigger and then made their way away from the plant.
Drew found one way around our home towards our backyard seeking a place to form its chrysalis. So, he helped it out by putting it near a plant.  Sure enough, it made its chrysalis and we found it.  So, a week or so after making the chrysalis, I pulled it from the tree and put it in our butterfly net.  We watched it as it emerged and then got to release it.  It may have been one of the most beautiful butterflies I have seen!  It was just gorgeous with its black, blue, white and orange and its uniquely shaped wings.  We released it together as a family.

But, I later found another butterfly that was far more beautiful than this black swallowtail.   Her name is Abbey:



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