Caterpillar to Butterfly Videos (Cup of Caterpillars review)
For Earth Week, we bought a Cup of Caterpillars* from Amazon. [NOTE: BUY THE BUTTERFLY HABITAT FIRST! It has a voucher in it for the cup of caterpillars. We didn't know that!] A box came in the mail that had a cup of 5 tiny caterpillars inside. Also in the package was an instruction book, guiding us from caterpillar to butterfly. Inside the cup was all the food the caterpillars would need.
Very quickly, the caterpillars grew and grew. After just a few days, they'd at least doubled in size. I was fascinated! Alexander -- just 2 years, 9 months -- didn't find them as exciting. (He loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, so I thought he might love to see the process in real life. I imagine that it's far too slow-going for him to really get enraptured. Maybe next year!)
About 1.5 weeks after we got them, they started to crawl to the top of the cup, one by one. And then -- wow! -- they started to hang from the lid, one by one. The first guy changed into a chrysalis within one day. It was amazing! His furry body was no longer furry. It looked like a shell. And I didn't realize what this all looked like up close, but a tiny piece of the caterpillar body pokes out of the chrysalis and then falls off. Whoa!
That night my husband set up a time lapse sequence on our camera, to hopefully catch the transformation from caterpillar to chrysalis for some of the others. Here is that video (unfortunately, it was too dark to see much, but maybe you'll see a little something interesting!):
According to the package directions, we were to wait 3 days for the chrysalides to fully harden before we transferred them to the butterfly habitat*. [REPEAT: BUY THIS BEFORE THE CUP! It has a voucher inside for the cup of caterpillars!]
Three days later, I carefully transferred the chrysalises to the butterfly habitat. And then we played the waiting game.
A few days later, I woke up to find that one of the little guys had turned black and another was totally clear. (Turns out, the clear one had already emerged and was hiding behind the chrysalis station!) Once they turn black, that means they're about to emerge. I tried taking a time lapse video of an emergence, but at 1 photo per minute, it ended up being WAY too fast. Basically, one second there's no movement, and the next second, there's a butterfly. You don't see any of the movement.
So I set up a second time lapse that took a picture every 3 seconds. It ran about most of the day, and once I noticed the battery ran out, I checked out the footage. Sure enough I had a cool shot of the butterfly emerging PLUS the moment when the butterfly released its meconium. Funny enough, the others before him (or her) didn't release any, at least not noticeably. So I thought it was cool that this one released some on camera.
You can see the video below. At around the 0:17 mark, you'll see him come out. And around 1:04, you see the meconium come out - it looks like blood, so don't freak out!
Nearly 2 weeks after we received our caterpillars, it was time to release them. They say to wait until daytime temperatures are at least 55 degrees F. It's nice here: it's May in Georgia, so most days the temperature is around 70. Here is a short video of our butterfly release!
If you want to go through this really cool experience, buy your own cup of caterpillars and butterfly habitat!
*That's an affiliate link. It doesn't cost you any extra! I just get a tiny commission from Amazon if you purchase from that link.