Beautiful, aren’t they?  Never really thought about it?  Probably!  And why on earth are you blogging about butterflies? Good question, and one that probably needs addressing right now!

My daughter was five a couple of weeks ago, and she loves butterflies.  She has butterfly transfers on her bedroom wall, a butterfly duvet cover, and while we don’t seem to have seen that many this year, you could describe her as a butterfly fan.

All kids these days are bombarded with adverts if they watch any TV (other than CBeebies), and she’s always mentioning things she’d like between TV shows.  We’re also asked around birthday’s and Christmas times what she might like, so the easiest way to remember is through an Amazon Wish List.  The Butterfly Garden had been on there a while, and when my sister saw this, she decided to get this as a birthday present.  She’s a teacher so had some experience of this from school, and most kids apparently find the process fascinating.

The Butterfly Garden kit arrives with little in the box – just a butterfly habitat (think a small pop-up tent), a green pipette, and some instructions.  The key part is a voucher to order caterpillars online from Insect Lore, which arrived about a week after ordering them.  You don’t have to do anything more complicated than opening the box as the caterpillars, and everything they need is in a sealed cup.  It’s just a case of watching them grow, and my how they grow!  We’re at day eight today, so within the next few days, the caterpillars should attach themselves to the top of the lid meaning they are ready to pupate or become chrysalides!

Caterpillars

 

 

The caterpillars need to be left in the cup for a further three days, before being transferred into the habitat.  After a further 3-4 days, they should emerge from the chrysalides into Painted Lady Butterflies!  Some pictures above showing their incredible growth over the last eight days, and I’ll add some more during the next few weeks.

Update: Added picture for Day 11 which shows most of the caterpillars attaching to the top of the cup.  Should see them form into chrysalides over the next few days

Update:  Only took another day for them all to be hanging from the lid!  By the end of the day, 2 out of the 5 look like chrysalides!!!

Update:  So after 3 days, it was time to transfer them to the habitat.  Removing the silk and frass detached one of the chrysalides, so that was transferred into the habitat on some kitchen roll.  The last caterpillar update, as they’ll be butterflies soon…

Butterflies

 

Well, it’s Day 21 and still no sign of any butterflies!  Hopefully any day soon, but for now they seem quite happy to stay in their chrysalides.

Day 23 and the first butterfly emerged!  It was the one resting on the paper towel at the bottom of the habitat, and we didn’t see the actual event, but just noticed the butterfly sitting on the side netting!  Going to bed last night, I was a little worried that we’d wake up this morning and find all 5 butterflies in the habitat, but the 4 remaining chrysalides were still hanging onto the lid.  After dropping my daughter at school this morning, I headed home and set-up various cameras to capture the others expecting them to emerge at some point today.

I’d set up my Canon 5D with a Pulse Bluetooth trigger to capture a 5 second timelapse, and managed to get the bottom two chrysalides which emerged this morning.  I’ll add a link to the video once I’ve put it on Youtube, but I was amazed how quickly it happened, at least in timelapse, so switched to my Canon EOS-M to try and video the final 2.  One is still holding out, but I’ll put the video of the third emerging on Youtube too.

Update:  And then there were 5!  It took the last one almost another 24 hours to appear, but the last butterfly emerged today.  We’ll be letting them free over the weekend, so will post up some final pictures then.  Can you spot all 5 in the Day 25 picture?

 

 

This clip is made of 720 pictures taken every 5 seconds for 1 hour and then converted into a time-lapse using Time Lapse Assembler at 20 fps.  In hindsight, I should have taken a shot every 2 seconds to give me a little more to play with the frame rate.

 

 

This was just a video straight from the camera with the music (Butterfly Caught by Massive Attack) added using iMovie.  As they would say in 24, events happen in real time 😉

 

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