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Caterpillar Diary

Caterpillar Diary

Mrs Kingsbury has some very special visitors at her house.  There will be daily photos of the caterpillars as they eat their special diet and get ready for their changes and metamorphosis into beautiful butterflies.  You might want to draw what you see and describe some of the changes you notice.

Day 22 - Saturday 9th May

We have come to the end of our journey now. Today, as it was sunny and not too windy, we released our five Painted Lady butterflies. It was lovely to watch them fly away and enjoy all the nature surrounding them, and spread their wings properly. We have thoroughly enjoyed watching their life cycle process and we look forward to doing this again another time. Two of the butterflies flew away immediately. The other three were a bit slower to realise I had opened the net. I managed to get one to climb onto my hand, and then onto Jacob's. He loved it. He was so gentle and calm while the butterfly was on him. I was really proud of him. We managed to get a picture of one of the butterflies flying out of the net, which was amazing as they are so quick! Once all five had flown away, we noticed that two of them had settled on flowers on a nearby tree. We watched them gather some strength and feed from the flowers, and then they flew away too. I wonder what they are doing and where they are now? One of the most incredible things I have found, is that the chsyalides still look perfect, even after the butterflies have hatched. They are so thin, like tissue paper, but still perfectly formed - have a look at the picture. Don't worry, the red liquid is not blood, it is meconium from the wings of the butterflies. What an amazing experience - I hope you have all enjoyed it too! 

Day 19 - Wednesday 6th May

Well, what a busy day it has been again! I have been at school today with all the key worker children, and while I have been out, guess what? The final two chrysalides hatched and two more beautiful Painted Ladies emerged! We feel so lucky to have had all five butterflies emerge safely. We have provided lots of yummy food to help them get their strength up over the next day or so and we plan to release them on Friday morning.  Lots of things have surprised me during this life cycle. One thing is how hairy the bodies of the butterflies are! I will try and get a picture tomorrow up close so you can all see. For now, have a look at the pictures form today - it is difficult to get really good ones due to the netting, so I have circled where the butterflies are to help. There are two butterflies in the top right circle.

Day 18 - Tuesday 5th May

Wow! What a day it has been. It started with five chrysalides and it has ended with triplets! At around 10am this morning, our first Painted Lady butterfly hatched. I was busy doing some school work with Jacob, glanced at the net and there it was! It had emerged from one of the chrysalides that had fallen onto the bottom of the tub. We were all so excited. We watched the butterfly for a few minutes whilst it stretched its wings and then went back to work. A few hours later, the second chrysalis hatched! This one was even bigger and the other one that had fallen in the tub. We had noticed that the chrysalides had gone very dark yesterday - we know why now! We looked more carefully at the three chrysalides left, and throughout the day one of them went very dark and you could begin to see the outline of wings. We kept an eye on it, and guess what - it also hatched! Typically, the butterfly emerged in the ten minutes we didn't check! But we saw it stretch out its wings and make its way to the side of the net. We have given them some food - sugar water solution on paper towels and plants. Tomorrow we are going to put some fruit in for them to enjoy. We are hoping that the final two chrysalides will hatch tomorrow and then we can release the butterflies in the next few days. Have a look at these fantastic pictures, you can see the butterflies that have hatched, the empty chrysalides and also the beautiful patterns on their wings.

Day 17 - Monday 4th May

Still no change! We are watching the chrysalides each day, several times a day, but they are comfy where they are for now. It usually takes between 7 and 14 days for them to start becoming butterflies, so we are hoping to see some changes by the end of the week. Stay tuned!

Day 11 - Tuesday 28th April

We have moved all five chrysalides into the Butterfly Garden today. We were all a bit nervous as they wobbled and shook a lot, but once they were in their stand and safely in the net they were perfectly still. Mrs Johnson was on hand for some advice - phew! The two that dropped to the bottom of the tub have been carefully placed in the bottom too - fingers crossed they hatch too! It takes about 7- 14 days for them to hatch, so keep checking for updates!

Day 10 - Monday 27th April

The chrysalides aren't quite ready to transfer yet! We tried to move them earlier, but one started wriggling so isn't quite ready. We will try again tomorrow.

Day 9 - Sunday 26th April

The chrysalides are definitely getting harder now, we will be transferring them to the butterfly net tomorrow, and hopefully they will hatch into beautiful Painted Lady butterflies very soon.

Day 8 - Saturday 25th April

We definitely have three chrysalis' on the way! Unfortunately, two of the chrysalides fell to the bottom of the tub. I am sure things like this happen in their normal habitat, and the recommendation is to put them into the butterfly net anyway, and hopefully they will still hatch into butterflies. Keep checking and see what happens.

Day 6 - Thursday 23rd April

Not much change today - although I think there will be soon! Keep checking back to see what is happening.

Day 5 - Wednesday 22nd April

Two of the caterpillars have moved to the lid of the tub, I wonder if this means they are getting ready to form the chrysalides.  Check back tomorrow to see!

Day 4 - Tuesday 21st April

Not much change today, they are just munching their way through the food and crawling around.

Day 3 - Monday 20th April 

Wow! These caterpillars are getting big now! We have noticed lots of little black balls in the tub, this is where the caterpillars are shedding their skin as they grow. It is called an exoskeleton!

Day 2 - Sunday 19th April

Day 1 - Saturday 18th April