Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Caterpillar Update...

Life as a caterpillar has finally ended for everyone around here.

As I type today, I have 8 chrysalis... 
In 10 - 14 days, I will have 7 butterflies because little Mikey lagged behind...
and is at least 3 days behind everyone else...
he will be last to fly and will be released alone.

This is the netted home I ordered from 
Shady Oak Farm
which will be perfect for them when they become butterflies.

This is Mikey, he was the smallest caterpillar of the 8 when I found them,
and the last to pupate to a chrysalis.

Mikey is on the left here...
on the right, you can see 2 caterpillars getting ready to pupate.
Once they have grown to be about 1.5 inches, 
they stop eating and become very active for about 24 hours.
Then they scrunch up, wiggle out of their outer skin, and expose the chrysalis beneath.

The chrysalis will be either brown,

or green and is attached to the branch of choice with thin silks it has spun.
In two weeks, they will be beautiful 
Black Swallowtail Butterflies
They will stay in their netted home for about 2 hours, so their wings can dry...
then, I will release them to be free.

This is how they looked when I brought them indoors, 2 weeks ago.

Here they are on August 6th, climbing all over the counter while I cleaned the cage.

And here they are a few days later on August 8th,

and on August 12th.

I purchased the netted home from 
Shady Oak Farm
and I would highly recommend them, they have awesome customer service!

Here, is a link to the first post I wrote when I found the caterpillars
here is a link to an excellent article Raise Black Swallowtails Butterflies Indoors
that a faithful follower Peg shared with me. 
Many thanks Peg, it is an excellent article and I have referred to it often.


  1. This is so cool. I want to see them emerge.

  2. Fascinating!! Can't wait to see them!

  3. I am glad it is only a two week wait. I look forward to seeing them! Beautiful captures and protection of butterflies, Debbie!

  4. Hello, this is an amazing process watching the caterpillars, chrysalis and coming soon the butterflies. Awesome, I like the new butterfly home. I did notice the young caterpillar was named Mikey, is this one named after your son? Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

  5. Pretty amazing how they change like that!

  6. I wonder if he felt lonely being the last?

  7. Oh wow, how exciting and that is a neat home for them and nice that you can see them so well inside it! I am just so amazed by all the things we have now a days, can you imagine people from the past seeing all we have now! Thanks for sharing this is all new to me, Love it!

  8. They've grown so much! You're amazing to help them on the way to becoming who they are meant to be; beautiful butterflies! :)


  9. You've nurtured them so well! Waiting is the hardest part until they are ready to emerge! So excited for this!
    Great job, Debbie!

  10. Hooray for an update!

    This is just marvelous! Thank you so much, for sharing this process, with us.

    Don't worry Mikey, you'll get there. :-)

    Luna Crone

  11. We do this at school too. It's always so much fun. You have set up a beautiful home for them in all stages of life. I love seeing everything is such fine detail!

  12. Hello Debbie!:) This is so exciting. You are doing an awesome job of nurturing and protecting them until the butterflies emerge and can be released. I look forward to seeing the Swallowtails, but in the meantime am enjoying your fabulous photos.

  13. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I'm intrigued with the different colors of chrysalises within the same species, raised in the same place. Of course, I had to do a little research on it and found that at Purdue a scientist did a project on just that question. He found that the photo receptors of the caterpillar can detect the dominant color of the surroundings as it begins to pupate. That affects hormones which in turn affect the color of the chrysalis. Maybe some of your caterpillars spent more time around the green leaves on those twigs and some stayed more on the area with just bark color. It's an interesting idea to me. I read of another researcher who used bright colors to surround the caterpillars and one of them created a teal chrysalis to match its surroundings. I look forward to seeing your butterflies.

    1. thanks peg, i used that article several times as a reference and enjoyed it immensely!!!

  14. Debbie, this is just wonderful, and I truly so appreciate you sharing them here.

  15. find a company has great customer service is a great thing now a days! Hard to find them. Can't wait to see the butterflies take off. You are being a great mom to them!

  16. This is very cool! I can't wait to see them!

  17. Fascinating Debbie, I am learning as I go along with you. Thank you so much :) I shall enjoy seeing them as butterflies. I'm sure you will feel great pride when that happens, very rewarding.

  18. I've enjoyed these posts Debbie, very interesting to see your photographs and feel part of the journey with you and the caterpillars. Waiting patiently for what comes next!

    All the best Jan

  19. Thanks for the update.It is so much fun to watch them transform into those beautiful butterflies.

  20. I find this all so fascinating. I like watching this proces; it is so awesome. It will be fun to see their transformaiton. I think it is sweet that you have a little runt in the pack. This is so fun to follow. You are being part of creation.
    Blessings and hugs for you!

  21. Thank you for this incrdible post dear!!!

    i always wanted to see how caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies and you made it possible for me ,am so glad :)

  22. I am going to go out and check my dill. I haven't seen any yet so this time I will wear my glasses.
    Lovely pictures and what a neat cage for them. Thanks for the link Debbie.

  23. Awe, I do believe they had a wonderful time, but now it's time to fly! See the world, kiss the wind.

  24. Really enjoying your commentary and progress pics, thank you Debbie xx

  25. I am so impressed and love your wonderful pictures.

  26. I love these posts and can't wait to see your images of the butterflies when they emerge!!
    Have a wonderful weekend :)