In 2011, we did this. We thought we’d do it again as the kids seemed enthusiastic and curious.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve watched 5 caterpillars, eat, grow, form chrysalis and emerge as butterflies.
I read that “to become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests itself … certain groups of cells survive, turning the soup into eyes, wings, antennae and other adult structures”
A caterpillar is a larva. We watched them eat, eat and eat, and shed their skins to get bigger and bigger.
After about 10 days, they climbed to the top of the cup, shed their skin one last time, and each formed a chrysalis. The chrysalis hardened, and within this the caterpillar transformed its body into a butterfly.
I am told, the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. Certain groups of cells survive the digestive process. All the information needed to become a butterfly is present in the caterpillar when it initially grows from an egg.
While in the hardened chrysalis, most of the transformation is an unseen process, but you see the chrysalis harden and bulge over about 10 days. It wiggles every now and then, reminding you that something’s going on in there.
Finally, after about 10 days, out climb butterflies – simply amazing.
You can get the kit here: https://www.insectlore.co.uk