I was leaning towards this being a wordless post (making sentences…too hard…tired brain,) but then realized that might leave too many questions, and that wouldn’t be very nice of me…
Late last summer my kids had a great time hunting and gathering caterpillars to keep in jars in order to watch them metamorphose into butterflies and moths. It was still early enough that we were able to watch most of them emerge in the weeks that followed. Seth was heavily influenced by A Girl of the Limberlost which he read shortly after I did (a must read) and led the rest of the kids on their hunts.
This year they didn’t go looking for caterpillars, but happened upon some interesting looking ones while climbing in our maple trees last week. They were identified using our Caterpillars of Eastern North America field guide and placed in a jar with a handful of maple leaves. Further research revealed that they pupate underground, so a layer of soil was added to the bottom of the yarn. ( As I reread this post, I noticed that the word “yarn” should actually be “jar” but I am leaving that typo in because it amuses me. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time I’ve typed the word yarn in place of another object.) Within 24 hours all five caterpillars had pupated and they are now residing in the bottom of a milk jug filled with soil. We placed the milk jug in a hanging butterfly cage and will wait to see the colorful little moths emerge, maybe not until next spring because we have placed the cage outside and it is late in the season. The same cage that we bought can also be purchased as a live butterfly kit complete with live caterpillars if you don’t live in an area where you can find caterpillars easily. This one is maybe a better option, but I wanted the larger hanging cage that comes with the other.
p.s. If you are a family of nature nerds like we are, you might enjoy this fantastic new blog!