on a picture for a close-up view.
was still munching away this morning and then suddenly stopped.
It walked away from an unfinished leaf, looked around and headed
for a quiet spot at the top of its enclosure. At this size a
caterpillar can move quickly when they want to. In the wild
a caterpillar may travel quite a distance looking off into the
distance in search of just the right place to make its big change.
A few seconds later your caterpillar was already preparing a
silk pad at the desired location. That same silk that had been
used as a safety line so many times before is now being spread
in a circular mound with a small silk ball in the middle. How
do they know exactly what to do? This is definitely a skill
which requires planning and effort. The pad can be attached
to most anything, and we have found caterpillars hanging in
some very interesting places (on leaves, stems, under furniture,
behind books, on walls, even ceilings). They will make a pad
just about anywhere that stays still long enough.
the silk pad something interesting happens...your caterpillar
actually turns around and grabs it with its back side, Picture
#2. Evolution is so interesting! How did this creature's first
predecessors ever start this process millions of years ago?
Is this caterpillar showing intelligence when it chooses a place
to attach its silk pad or where to hide or when it makes a "tool"
for hanging? Well there is lots to think about when you take
the time to watch closely. It is now afternoon and your caterpillar
is still hanging in its "J" position, Picture #3.
Every few minutes it seems to be doing a situp as it pulls its
head up to its feet. We forgot to point out your caterpillar's
feet! It has 3 front pairs of pointed feet and 5 pairs of clasper
feet which can hold on with great strength! Never pull a caterpillar
from an object it is grasping to as you can injure the caterpillar...let
it walk to you, caterpillars like to climb vertically so placing
your hand or an object in front and above it will work best.
If you look
closely at picture #4 you may notice that the antennae have
shriveled up. This is a sign that something very, very, very
strange is about to happen. I am sure the following pictures
will interest you as your friend wriggles out of its skin for
the last time as a caterpillar. We call this the dance as there
is plenty of spinning and twirling as your caterpillar tries
to rid itself of the old skin.
at each picture and you will see that all the parts of an adult
butterfly are already present. There are wings and antennae
as well as a new body structure. Once the skin splits apart
and falls to the ground your caterpillar will finally stop wriggling
round and around. This bright green color is exactly the same
as the leaves it has been eating for the past few weeks. Over
the next few hours the outside skin will harden and be called
a chrysalis or pupae. These few hours are also very dangerous
for your caterpillar as it has no defense. Again your mesh enclosure
is important to stop another wasp from laying eggs inside the
soft skinned chrysalis.
It has been
a long day for your caterpillar and it deserves a rest...and
rest it will.
the Migration race continues with millions of Monarchs flying
North. They need Millions of Milkweed plants and heroes like
you who take action on their behalf. This is a Nationwide project
and many people are needed in every region to assist the Monarchs.
Please take a moment to think of friends and relatives you can
contact and get involved in this important campaign.
use this link for more ideas on how you can help the Monarchs.
link will give you access to Free seeds, Milkweed plants, and
important plant care information.
Monarch Foundation brings you this free learning experience
and hope you will share your, lessons with others and help Butterflies
in your area by inspiring others to take action and plant seeds
for their caterpillar children. Please take advantage of our
Free Seed Program , our
low cost plants and butterfly rearing supplies and please tell
others about this online pet adventure!
in 4 days.