We’ve been raising painted lady butterfly caterpillars for the past 14 days. This past Wednesday and Thursday, all of them climbed to the top of the cup and formed a chrysalis, except for one poor fellow who stayed at the bottom of the cup.
We carefully transferred the hanging ones to the top of our tank and placed the other guy on a paper towel at the bottom of the tank. We learned that the plants preferred by painted lady butterflies are thistle, hollyhock, and parsley, so we put a parsley and a hollyhock plant inside the tank, hoping to coerce an egg or two to be left behind before we release the butterflies.
We ordered the caterpillars, and when they arrived, they were all safe and sound in a cup with food.
The boys each have a folder to keep up with everything: they are drawing pictures of the different stages of development we have observed, and they have measured the caterpillars daily until the chrysalis stage. The caterpillars doubled in size after the first day and grew to a whopping two inches long before heading to the top of the cup!
Here are some of the resources we are using to accompany our butterfly study:
- The Usborne Complete First Book of Nature
- Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America
- National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Butterflies Of North America
- Let’s Read and Find Out Science: From Caterpillar to Butterfly — This book follows the development of the painted lady butterfly
- Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons — Gives a detailed depiction of the stages of development and butterfly anatomy
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle