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~caterpillar~chrysalis~butterfly~

June 29, 2013
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This is the second or third year that we have kept caterpillars in the hopes of raising butterflies. This year we collected four caterpillars and the fennel they were munching on.  Initially we thought they were Black Swallowtail but now I think they are Anise Swallowtail but I’m no lepidopterologist. We have an old, small fish tank that we were able to use as a caterpillar/butterfly house. It’s not very big though, so the caterpillars escaped on more than one occasion. One caterpillar got lost in the house. I’m not sure if maybe the dog didn’t eat it…

But for the other three we kept up their supply of fresh fennel and watched them get bigger and bigger.

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Until they finally turned into chrysalises.

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After two or three weeks the first butterfly hatched:

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And a few days later, the second one. This one emerged on a rare, rainy summer day in the Bay Area and took a whole day to dry out its wings before it flew away (or possibly got eaten, who knows really).

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And finally the third:

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Now we have moved on to this little guy:

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I’m not sure what species it is, but as I said, I’m no lepidopterologist…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2013 6:32 PM

    I keep wishing we could get it together to do this. Those butterflies are just spectacular looking aren’t they? Great photos Deia. What fun for your boys!!

  2. June 30, 2013 10:37 AM

    so cool. what an amazing process to have the boys watch.

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