Well, as I mentioned in my last post, the butterflies have emerged from their chrysalis. We have been raising caterpillars that came with a butterfly raising kit which was a Christmas gift for my daughter. You can read about the caterpillars growth here and their moving day here once they formed their chrysalis.
The caterpillars formed their chrysalis last Tuesday and we put them inside of their butterfly enclosure. We hung the enclosure on a tree in the back garden. I did have to bring it inside for a couple of nights when the temperatures dipped below 55 degrees.
Well, Saturday morning dawned and it was a beautiful day. I was happy because I got to sleep in a little bit. As soon as I woke up, I went to take the butterfly enclosure back outside when I noticed 3 butterflies fluttering about inside of the cage.
To say that I was EXCITED is an understatement! I ran to get my kids to show them. **The reason you don’t see me in any of the photos is because I still had my pajamas on 😉
We just sat there watching them and wondering when the others would emerge. We didn’t have to wait long….
You could see the chrysalis begin to wiggle a bit and then the end would bulge out and the butterfly would emerge very quickly….seriously it took about 10 seconds. The wings were wrinkled at first and it took about a half hour for them to fold out completely. **The red stain is baby butterfly excrement (poop).
Then a minute later, another one began to emerge….
We were beside ourselves with excitement, especially the kids.
I decided to get some pictures close up and opened up the enclosure so that I could fit my camera lens inside. I just prayed that I did not have any butterflies relieve themselves on the lens (my husband would not be too happy about that – it is his camera).
The butterflies are called “Painted Lady” and they emerged within a 3 hour period, except for one.
We prepared food for the butterflies as directed by the manufacturers of the butterfly kit. It was a mixture of sugar and water. An eye-dropper was included for easy application.
Applying the sugar water to flowers was recommended, so I used Lantana, which is very popular with butterflies.
Almost right away, some butterflies made their way to the flowers and began to taste the sugar water.
Their tongues are amazing. They actually work like a straw. You can see the black tongue above and it actually curls up.
The butterflies only live for 10 days. So, our plan is to observe them for 3 days and then let them go so that they can pollinate flowers and reproduce.
Who knew that butterflies could be so interesting?
**Our last installment will be in a couple of days when we release the butterflies out into the wild. There is also a story about the 10th butterfly who had to be helped out of his damaged chrysalis.Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."