We have BUTTERFLY!!

June 16, 2009 at 12:09 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day, Pictures) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sorry, this is Tuesday. My education obligations and medical appointments had me running. No time for the computer. Until now!

We had our first butterfly on Sunday!

Just one little guy…well…he was big…bigger than I thought. But he was all alone. And Stevie (my daughter) was not home! She was with her dad. I tried to get hold of her all day, but no luck. Sunday went into Monday. Our butterfly dried and fluttered and flew around in his small home. He was hanging upside down on the netting on top of the container. We tried to let him go at dusk, Sunday night…no luck. He just stayed stuck. So we tucked him in for the night and waited until Monday morning. Less than 45 seconds with the net back and off he went. I tried to catch as much on video…but you know how these young butterflies can be! Off to find a mate! Not even a Disney pause to say thanks!

Oh well. The rest were still hanging all chyrsalis-style. Not moving. That was 10 am. Monday. These pics and video are from that point.

I also checked the internet for any care tips or general butterfly info. A few things I learned:

1. The warmer the temperature outside/inside/wherever they are hanging, determines the speed of metamorphosis. Broad time frame, 10-15 days. We had our first at Day 12.

2. The new butterflies only need to dry for a few hours. Our first guy took many hours. But….

3. They need heat to fly! Their wings, and bodies, need to be warm in order to lift off the ground and stay lifted. Once they get flying the energy it takes to keep flying generates the heat they need! That’s why…

4. Alot of butterflies have darker exterior wing colors. To absorb the heat of the sun. That’s also why…

5. They flutter their wings! It creates more surface area and warms up their bodies. Who knew?

6. Butterfly caterpillars make a chrysalis.  Moth caterpillars make cocoons. (The guy on the internet was kind of picky about this distinction)

7. Once the butterfly flies away, they look for mates, start a family, lay their eggs, and die.

8. It is kind of sad, but these particular type, Mourning Cloak, can live up to 10 months! Pretty long for a butterfly. We are nothing, if not sturdy out here in the Midwest!

9. One extra fyi–The Mourning Cloak is so named because its wings resemble the type of cloak that was worn in the 1800’s for mourning the dead.

And now YOU know too! Go out and impress your friends.  First take a look at these though:

He was a milk jug butterfly. After busting out of the chrysalis, he clung to the side for awhile.

He was a milk jug caterpillar. After busting out of the chrysalis, he clung to the side for awhile.


Opening the wings.

Opening the wings.


Creating a home at the bottom of the plastic tub.

Creating a home at the bottom of the plastic tub.


We noticed purple flowers were the favorite.

We noticed purple flowers were the favorite.

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Just not ready to go yet...

Just not ready to go yet...


In case you were curious. This is their very temporary home. Exterior.

In case you were curious. This is their very temporary home. Exterior.


Interior. With non-emerged chrysalis. There are 6 hanging. And 4 more inside the milk jug.

Interior. With non-emerged chrysalis. There are 6 hanging. (Hard to see) And 4 more inside the milk jug. We had a total of 11.

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