What fun it was to keep an eye on the butterflies as we waited for them to emerge. It’s an amazing process! What a wonderful reminder, too, that the way a butterfly changes is a good example of how God changes us!
Shortly before bed a few weeks ago, I noticed that two of the chrysalides had changed from tan to a dark transparent color. I looked at them one last time around 11 PM, and there was no change. I woke up around 6 AM, and two of the butterflies had recently emerged.
The kids were SO excited to see butterflies, and we enjoyed watching as they learned to spread their wings and fly. (I woke the boys a little early so they could see!)
If you’ve never done this before with Painted Lady butterflies, you should probably know that it’s a bit of a messy process. Butterfly meconium is bright red like blood, and it leaves quite a few stains throughout the butterfly habitat. It didn’t phase my boys, but I could see some children being bothered by this if they didn’t know what it was.
Throughout the next few days, three more butterflies emerged. Two came during the night on the next night, and though I watched like a hawk for the final butterfly to emerge, it happened while I walked away for 5 minutes.
We fed the butterflies orange slices, and we were able to see how a butterfly ‘unrolls’ its proboscis to take a drink. Alex was fascinated by this, and he has pretended to have a proboscis several times lately!
In the two pictures below, you can see some drips down the mesh in the top left corner of the photo. That’s some of the red meconium staining.
We were able to observe the symmetry in the butterflies’ wings.
We also observed butterfly mating, and we were able to see the teeny-tiny aqua-blue eggs. They laid their eggs on the orange slices! (We placed those in the bushes in front of our house so that they might have a slight chance of finding leaves to eat after they hatch.)
Finally, the time came to release the butterflies. We invited our neighbor kids over to enjoy the release with us!
The butterflies were hesitant to go at first, but slowly began to find their way out of their ‘house’. Two flew up high, over the house, and disappeared. The rest landed on nearby bushes or grass, and the kids were able to catch and hold the butterflies for a few minutes. One even came back for a visit later in the week.
No matter how many times I tried, I couldn’t get a picture of Max with the butterflies. They kept flying away before I snapped the picture…so we have a picture of a smiling Max with an empty hand! Oops!
One butterfly was injured (notice the missing antenna?), and he didn’t survive. The kids enjoyed the opportunity to hold the butterfly and examine it closely.
This was SUCH an amazing experience. We not only learned many lessons about caterpillars and butterflies, but we also learned about our Amazing Creator.
God has a marvelous imagination, an amazing ability to create beauty and wonder, and He gives us important spiritual lessons to be found in the little things all around us! Just like the caterpillar goes through a process to become a beautiful butterfly, as believers in Jesus, we go through an amazing transformation! What a wonderful way to teach our children about the miracle of transformation, not only for butterflies but also for those who trust in Him!