Monday, September 5, 2011

Cocoon Progress: The Hatching

The day has finally come - your caterpillar is about to burst into the world as a beautiful, velvety orange and black butterfly. 

Depending on when you noticed it going dark you may find yourself sitting and staring at the seemingly unchanging shell above for a lengthy amount of time.  (We sat around an hour and a half for this one, practically staring holes in the cocoon before it actually came out:)
If you look really, really, REALLY closely you may begin to see small patches that look wrinkled and papery. We think this means that the butterfly is beginning to flex and try break out. Sometimes you might even be able to see the cocoon wiggling.

Now comes my favorite part! :)
It happens so fast it is over in the blink of an eye - but it is such an amazing thing to see!
The bottom of the cocoon will split and be pushed open by the butterfly as it strains to pull itself out.

Doesn't look much like the butterflies you see floating on the breeze does it. The next part is truly fascinating. . .well, the whole thing is fascinating; but I realize at each step of the process how amazing the whole thing is:)
As the butterfly hangs there, holding fast to the empty cocoon they gradually pump the fluid out of their body and into their wings. As this happens their wings slowly unfold and begin to dry.

Sorry this is sideways, I can't figure out how to rotate once it is uploaded to the blog.)

Holding a newly hatched butterfly is one of the highlights of summer:)

Once their wings are sufficiently dry (or we need to go about our own work and don't want to have to worry about losing them inside) we take them outside and place them on a bush until they are comfortable enough to take off and discover the wide open world:)

We hope you have enjoyed taking this journey with us and that you will also get to experience this wonder for yourself.

P.S. - We finally found the two that went missing - thank goodness!

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