Friday, May 11, 2007

Prince of the Butterflies

I promised another post about my ongoing entomology lessons. Years ago Nathan became interested in the butterfly life cycle. Like ladybugs, butterflies undergo a complete metamorphosis. In case you were dying to know the difference between incomplete and complete metamorphosis check out this site. I think I am learning more from being a mom and a homeschooling mom than I ever learned in school.Nathan has a special understanding of the animal world. It wouldn't surprise me if he became a biologist, veterinarian, animal rights activist or worked at the pound. Well, back to butterflies. At the moment in our school room we have a slightly smelly habitat filled with cabbage white caterpillars. When they arrived, the eggs were so small they all could have fit on a baby's fingernail. They hatched almost as soon as Nathan placed them on the cabbage leaf. They were translucent green and very hard to see. After a few weeks Nathan was having to change the cabbage leaves daily and clean out the frass (poop).Two days ago we saw that the caterpillars were starting to pupate. First they crawl up on the side or top of the habitat and then they sew a little bit of silk around themselves to attach (see how God approves of sewing!!). The next day we could see how they had begun to change. They "lost" their legs and began to look more pointy at one end and to have some ridges around parts of their body. In one to two weeks we should see them emerge as little white butterflies.In the past Nathan has "grown" Painted Lady and Monarch butterflies. Watching the metamorphosis of those butterflies was amazing. Both these types pupate in a slightly different way then the Cabbage White. I can't even believe that, 1.I know this information and, 2.that I think it is fascinating.

The top picture is from 2005. This was the summer we decided to homeschool. I don't have any digital pictures of the painted lady butterflies. We hatched them in 2004 when Nathan was in 1st grade. Since today is our "official" last day of school, Nathan is now a 5th grader. How did the time pass so quickly?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...