Thursday, 5 February 2009

Very hungry caterpillars

We thought if we planted swan plants we might attract the monarch butterflies to lay their eggs there. It worked!

Unfortunately, there were far more caterpillars than the plants could support, and after they had devoured all the leaves and flowers, they proceeded to eat the stems:

Some of them tried neighbouring plants, but they didn't seem to like them nearly as much.

Some of them got fat enough to think about building a chrysalis:

Here's a chrysalis (green with gold detailing!)

I picked the stems I could find that had chrysalises on them, and brought them inside. One has hatched so far:

It took a while to dry out its new wings. It trotted up and down the windowsill slowly flapping for a long time.

When it seemed to have got the hang of flying, I took it outside:

So that's one success. There are 2 more chrysalises to hatch, so the ratio of skeleton-ised swan plants to butterflies will probably be 1:1!

Thanks Katie for the plants :-)

Images copyright 2009 Grace Dalley. All rights reserved.

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