Our No School Adventure

Homeschooling our children in Ontario

Our Caterpillar is now in its Chrysalis


Wow!!!!!!!!!!!   I totally did not expect it to happen that quicklly. I’m so glad its not taking a long time thou!

So we found our caterpillar on Friday afternoon munching away at my parsley. On Saturday morning I found him a stick that fit into our mason jar and I gave him a new branch of parsley because he ate the one I put in with him Friday. But Saturday he didn’t eat anything. I was thinking maybe he eats at night time and doesn’t move around a lot during the day. I was wrong!

This morning I noticed he was kind of hanging off of the stick in a weird way. I thought maybe he wasn’t doing too well and maybe he was gonig to die but I didnt say anything to Tessa because I was not sure. As you can tell I didn’t follow through with that research I said I was going to do! I didn’t take a picture of the way he was hanging but here is what he looked like on the stick. Only his head and tail end are touching the stick.

Before dinner was ready David called me into the kitchen to look at the Caterpillar and it was starting to make the Chrysalis (more detail on this in a little bit) I showed it to Tessa and Quinn but my battery for my camera was dead so I charged it. I didn’t realize it only took a Maximim of 4 hours for a caterpillar to enter the chrysalis stage or I would have taken my battery out right after dinner to get some pictures…..but I did not.

So now our caterpillar is in its chrysalis and its hardening.

I was really worried about our butterfly because it made the chrysalis at the bottom of the mason jar at the bottom of the stick. when my brother asked me to look up his caterpillar for him I had read that the butterfly must be able to climb out and spread its wing completly so they dry or it will not be able to fly. From what I had remembered about the pictures I had seen when looking things up for him the butterflys come out of the bottom of the chrysalis and if our butterfly did that he would not be able to open his/her wings. So this is when I finally did some research.

The Black Swallowtail butterfly….

* is the second easiest to raise (monarchs being the easiest)

* is the largest butterfly in North America.

* does not “make” a chrysalis around itself. It sheds it skin for the last time (4th time) and the chrysalis emerges.

* will emerge from the top of the chrysalis and cling to the branch.

* does not open up its wings once it emerges from the chrysalis. Its body pumps fluid and blood to the wings which makes them open up.

And some possibly upsetting information I learned is that if this is the 3rd brood of caterpillar for the year it could stay in chrysalis form for the whole winter and not emerge until May/June which is like 8-9 months away.

But if this is the second brood then it should only take about 10 days to emerge.

For Tessa’s sake i’m really hoping we have a butterfly in 10 days time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


3 thoughts on “Our Caterpillar is now in its Chrysalis

  1. I’m not used to WordPress Blogs. K… just a word of warning about the butterfly. Because it’s a Black Swallowtail butterfly it may not emerge because it’s late in the season. I’m pretty sure they don’t migrate. So, don’t be surprised if it hibernates. Also, if you leave it in the jar, especially if it’s near the bottom of your stick, the wings may get stuck to the bottom of the jar. We’ve had this happen. Is your jar large enough to house a butterfly comfortably. We have a butterfly house. You can make one easily and just move the stick to the house, but lightly…. too much stress even in the pupa stage and it could die. We have a great deal of experience with insects here. Currently we are caring for crickets (great to do in the fall) and soon we’ll likely get some sow bugs or potato bugs to observe over winter. If you would like to see what could happen keeping the butterfly in the jar I could send you a link from my blog that will show you a picture of the butterfly that got stuck to the bottom of the jar. Also… if you want to see it come out… look at it every day and when the chrysalis suddenly looks dark and like you can see a bit of the butterfly through the skin, it will come out that day. We had to carry one with us in a large jar (with paper towel on the bottom). The video of that one is on our blog as well. Good luck!

    • Thanks Sheri. I knew it was a black swallowtail because I had seen your post on your blog and I did see the one about the damaged wing and that’s why I was concerned about ours. I used the biggest mason jar we had but I’m worried it’s not big enough and I’m trying to find something else to put it in but we don’t have anything. I’m going to ask around for a fish tank or something. I also did read that it might not emerge until spring and about the colour turning darker before it emerges. Thanks for all the tips!!!!!

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Oh… and expect to wait at least 3 weeks for it to emerge. Takes a while.

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