Monday, August 17, 2009

A tale of two butterflies...

So about two weeks ago, Madeline and Jack found two caterpillars near my mom's garage. Sherri identified them immediately as Monarch butterfly caterpillars and set out to make a habitat for them. Almost immediately the caterpillars attached themselves to the "roof" of the container and formed the classic "J" position that these caterpillars take when getting ready to go into their cocoons.

No less than 24 hours later the first caterpillar starting to enter his cocoon (I threw up a little in my mouth at this, despite the natural beauty of the situation).
Then the second, about an hour later. Sherri and I actually sat there and watched the whole process (the kids watched the first one and then some friends came over and they had better things to do apparently). Sherri was able to actually videotape the second caterpillar enter his cocoon, which, in reality is really HIS SKIN BURSTING OPEN (again, the throwing up in the mouth thing occurred).
And miracle happened (it really is considered a miracle in nature as what is contained in that cocoon is mush that turns into organs and wings and everything else) and our two beautiful butterflies came out of their cocoons (see empty cocoons in next picture). HOW FREAKIN' PRETTY ARE THEY??!?!?! My sister Sherri, aka The Monarch Butterfly Expert, told us that these are 5th generation Monarchs and that they will now make their way to Mexico, coming back in the spring to start the process over again. Sherri would know, as she was featured in the Clarence Bee when she was in 2nd grade for doing this very same thing! Very special considering her daughter is entering 2nd grade and was able to experience the same thing her mama did many, many (many, many, many....) years ago.

It was then time to say good bye.
I miss them already.


Michele said...

Aren't they endangered? Two women at a meeting this evening received some eggs and leaves and stuff so they can breed this very type of butterfly.

Jenny said...

I don't know, I've never heard that they are anyway. These two would have been endangered if the kids didn't find them. My mom pulled the milkweed they were feeding off of and threw it in the garbage by the garage! :-)