Raising Butterflies

Young caterpillars are really larvae, hatching from their eggs, feeding on a host plant and go through the a series of molts. These molts are called instars. Following this last molt, the larva stops moving and forms a pupa (chrysalis).
WorktableDuring this time, the metamorphosis, or change, from larva to adult is occurring. Adult structures, like wings, legs, and eyes develop. There is really very little equipment necessary. I use a couple of old aquaria with styrofoam tops to hang the pupae, waiting to eclose. It's really neither complicated nor costly.

Some butterfly species are easier to raise than others. I started with Monarchs, but found that Black Swallowtails can also be raised at home. Gulf Fritillaries, while not a spectacular species is perhaps easiest of all.
I have set aside some space in our home to care for the youngsters. Each chrysalis is hung from a string.

  This is a young swallowtail about to go free! I hope she enjoys the pentas!

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