Remember last week, I talked about our experience with our caterpillars turning into chrysalis? Well guess what? The very next morning when I checked on the chrysalis, 3 completely dry painted lady butterflies had made their appearance! I thought perhaps we had missed the emerging, by not checking on them sooner in the morning. (Ok so I may have went back to bed after putting my child on the schoolbus.) But it’s also possible our butterflies were feeling nocturnal and came out of their chrysalis overnight.
I was disappointed at missing the event, and the opportunity to document it with photos for the blog. But we still had two more chrysalis to hatch. So I hoped I would be able to capture that later. My daughter and I made sugar water for our butterflies and we also collected some flowers to put in the bottom of their cage.
The kit had come with a little plastic bowel with a cotton ball placed into the center hole. We used a packet of sugar and mixed 1/4 cup water with it like the instructions said. My five year old and two year old were happy to mix the butterfly food. The sugar water was put in the bottom of course and then wicks up into the cotton ball for the butterflies to taste.
We got to see one of them “taste” the water with her tongue the next day. And we also had the opportunity to share the butterflies with a little class my daughter attends for craft and music time. It happened that the craft that day was making caterpillars out of a paper plate. So I asked the teacher if we could bring it along, and she was happy to have us do so.
Butterfly having a drink.
I decided to release the first three butterflies that day as well when our whole family was at home. My husband was designated photographer. The first two butterflies shot out of the basket and away! No pictures were captured. The third butterfly came out sitting on the butterfly food container while I lifted the feeder out of the cage.
I tried to get my husband to quickly take a picture, but my five-year old excitedly wanted to hold the butterfly. The grab toward the butterfly led to that one taking off in flight also. Such is life….
Apparently we have very discreet caterpillars/butterflies. Because the next morning, when my husband was up early for work, the last two butterflies had appeared overnight! I was bummed out on again not having the opportunity to take pictures of it, nor getting to watch it happen.
We attempted another photo release the next day. The first one again made a rapid escape. I decided to grab the next one so we could get a picture in my hand and/or taking off. She kind of blew or attempted to fly out of my hand and landed on our deck. It seemed like it was having trouble. I thought that I might have damaged her wings, but my husband said he had noticed one had seemed a little off while in the cage. I had also had to help one get off her back while in the cage when she got flipped over. So perhaps something wasn’t quite right with this one.
It wasn’t able to take off sailing like the others. It ended up sitting on the side of one of the deck rails and I was able to get pictures of her outside the cage. It sat there for sometime, but I don’t know what became of her after that. And we haven’t seen any painted lady butterflies since we released ours. But our instructions said they can live anywhere in North America. I was a bit surprised to find out how short a butterflies life is–only a few weeks according to our kit pamphlet.
But maybe its possible we will see their offspring sometime. And we can get more caterpillars to try this experience again if we want. If you want to hear more about our experience you can visit the first part of this in my last post Watching Our Caterpillars Transform Into Chrysalis.