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Raising a Painted Lady Butterfly

During the month of April, we watched a caterpillar grow, molt, form a chrysalis, and hatch into a butterfly. Observing the larvae became an exciting daily ritual for Lil, Alex and I. The caterpillar had perfect timing - it made a chrysalis during our new england vacation and emerged last weekend. We are pleased that Lil experienced the caterpillar life cycle first hand. Should we have been able to witness the butterfly life cycle, we might have seen a hawk eat it, or the butterfly starve without food. But we hope that our painted lady pollinated some flowers while drinking nectar and laid or fertilized eggs to hatch into new caterpillars.

We purchased our caterpillar for $4 from the Franklin Park Conservatory gift shop. If you are not local, Carolina science supply sells painted lady larvae. To preserve natural species, please only raise and release butterflies that are native to your area.

Added to Hearth and Soul 46.