Thursday, September 24, 2009

Metamorphosis


The other morning while out on an early morning walk before school, Orion and I stopped to look at a Queen butterfly perched on a desert milkweed. She let Orion put his hand under her, and perched on his finger. Looking more closely at the milkweed, we also saw a freshly opened chrysalis. Could this butterfly be the one that had just emerged? Then we found another chrysalis still waiting to hatch, a porcelain like pod exquisitely decorated with fine black lines and dots of gold.

Fascinated, Orion looked around and also saw a caterpillar, the kind that Queens metamorphose from. I explained to Orion that Queen butterflies usually lay their eggs on milkweeds so that when the caterpillar hatches out, it has it's favorite food to eat right there. Milkweeds have toxins that the caterpillars can eat, but that make them poisonous to birds and other creatures that might want to eat the caterpillar, so the caterpillar is usually avoided by predators. We didn't find any eggs, but just the three stages all on one plant blew Orion's mind so much that he just sat down right there on the sidewalk and watched for a long time. After a while, he got up and said, "Nature sure is amazing! Wait till I tell the kids at school about this!"

Yes, these are the moments I live for!

1 comment:

ezpixels said...

What a treat! I planted several milkweed and have high hopes to be able to document the process next year.