Last week the boys bought me a large green caterpillar. Yes, mothers of boys are used to this sort of thing. I’m just glad my boys don’t like spiders! God knows my limits.
Being good little homeschoolers we imprisoned our buggy guest in an insect catcher to observe. Let this serve as a lesson to other bugs…steer clear! Particularly if you are a spider. We do worse things to spiders!!
This caterpillar was already big and juicy when the boys bought him inside (Sorry I didn’t get any pictures of him 😦 ) . Then after feeding it for less than a week the change began. First it started to shrink. Don’t ask me why they do this. It’s just something we’ve noticed. This particular critter reduced his size by half. Those without buggy experience would think they’d done something wrong and their caterpillar was in his dying stages. But no. They seem to stop eating a day or so before the change to the pupa stage.
Then they wriggle out of their caterpillar skin and reveal the pupa beneath. This is the stage we missed last time we were observing the caterpillar to moth metamorphosis. This time we were lucky enough to glance at him just as it had begun. It’s a fairly quick process so we could so easily have missed it.
We were all fascinated by the process…even the adults! At school we were taught the life cycle of butterflies and moths – that they go from a caterpillar to a pupa but they never told us or showed us just how this happens. So seeing it first hand was really cool!
It was actually a bit of a stinky process. As the pupa emerges it’s soft and gooey at first.
After a while of rolling around, he seems to dry darker and harder. But he can still wriggle and move around. I’m presuming it’s a kind of “keep things even” process – not wanting to lie on one side too long. I could be wrong though. Just a hypothesis I had.
And now we wait again. We are going to be keeping a close eye on our pupa to make sure we see him emerge as a moth.