Caitlyn and I had the amazing opportunity and experience to observe almost a full butterfly life cycle. They are truly amazing creatures, and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing our home with them for most of their brief lives.
Our journey began when we received a most fantastic package in the mail. The container held food and five wiggly caterpillars.
Caitlyn was enthralled by the caterpillars, and watched them repeatedly and intently.
Then, finally, they attached to the lid. On their fifth day with us they formed chrysalis overnight. This stage was a little boring, but held much anticipation as we checked and rechecked for emerging butterflies.
After three days as chrysalis I transitioned them into their new home. Unfortunately this didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped, and two of the chrysalis ended up falling to the the bottom of the habitat. I had no idea how fragile they were or if the butterflies would survive, but I left them alone and hoped for the best.
Six days later the first butterfly hatched from it’s chrysalis. At first I think Caitlyn was a little disappointed. She saw the newly emerged butterfly with closed wings, and it’s camouflage outer wing looked very moth like (and ugly). After a little while it got situated and started to open it’s wings. When she finally saw the beautiful vibrant wings she was thrilled!
We never managed to observe one hatching, but we saw some immediately after with their wings still wet. We ended up with all five butterflies hatching too.
It was actually much easier to observe the butterflies than to photograph them. We spent a good amount of time observing, discussing, and researching our painted lady butterflies. It was truly a wonderful experience.
After a week of observation, and about half of their life span, we released the butterflies. Caitlyn decided they should be released into Mimi’s yard, so after a short car ride we were ready to go. Unfortunately the butterflies got very excited by the transition, and flew around so much that when Caitlyn opened the lid to release them only one flew out. The rest took a little more encouragement!
Finally got a picture with no netting, of the last straggler.