Sunday, 7 June 2015

15 #3: Caterpillars, Chrysalis and Butterflies

Grandad gave you two Swan Plants for Christmas this year.  Swan plants are the plant that Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and as Monarchs are in decline in NZ people are encouraged to have the plants in their gardens.  We planted them in a sunny spot in the front garden, you helped, and we explained what would happen. And then we waited, and waited.

It was quite a slow start to be honest but after a while we started to see little white dots on the leaves - eggs.  Then the eggs became tiny little caterpillars which grew very quickly into big fat caterpillars. (Something I didn't k is before - caterpillars poo a lot!).  After a while these fat caterpillars hung themselves upside down in a J shape and went into a suspended animation before becoming a Chrysalis.  We were never lucky enough to see this transformation though.

After a few weeks the butterflies emerged. Everyday you would run outside to check on them and see if anything was happening.  At the height we had 18 chrysalises.  We managed to catch 2 butterflies emerging which for me was amazing.  You were more amazed once the butterfly was out and drying it's wings.  You would stay a safe distance back so you didn't frighten them and you chatted to them, asking if they were ok.   I was a little worried you would be upset once they flew away but you weren't at all. You were happy they were flying off "to find their friends" as you put it.

Having these plants has been a wonderful experience for us all. I can't wait until next spring!

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