Thursday, August 30, 2012

Monarch Program

So I guess I need to back up a little bit here. 
We have our own butterfly garden in our small(ish) town. The Monarch Program is right down the street. So we went the other day and met a few friends there. 

It was pretty cool. They have a few different types of butterflies and a little educational center to explain metamorphosis.
Okay, maybe not as impressive as the one I went to with my mom in France, but for just down the street it was great. We learned a lot about Monarchs. The Monarch caterpillar only eats milkweed plants. (That I knew. I tried growing them from seed a few months ago to go in the back yard on ‘the hill’ but it was pretty much a disaster.) 

Once the caterpillar goes into its chrysalis it just a bunch of goo. You’d think if you look inside you would find either caterpillar and/or butterfly parts. But they said it was just goo. And a butterfly forms out of that goo. 

Once the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis its wings are small and wrinkly and the abdomen is pretty big. 
Over the next 60 minutes or so the fluid from the abdomen is pumped into the wings and they kind of inflate. Pretty cool.

Oh, and they love watermelon.

In talking about the butterfly garden the bug really wanted one to land on her. She would often stand in the yard with her fingers out hoping one would land on her. When we first went into the vivarium she got her wish but was definitely not sure about it. By the end of our visit she was so happy to have one on her finger. 

As we were leaving I asked about buying some milkweed and they said sure. So for about $20 I got 6 plants, pretty good sized. And now we are watching our own Monarch cycle. I am so excited. Oh, and by the way, we had to get another milkweed plant the other day because my herd of caterpillars (yes, it is called a herd) has eaten every leaf off the original ones.  What have I gotten myself into? 

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