Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Is "cocooned" a verb?

Erica and I cocooned our own caterpillars. It was so exciting!

We had found a little green caterpillar outside; Andrew joked with Erica and said it was a huge green snake that was gonna eat her! She started screaming, and to try to settle her down I explained: "No its a caterpillar. Should we put it in your bug kit?"

So we did. And would you believe it-- THAT VERY DAY, it started its cocoon. I was shocked.
At first I didn't realize what it was doing. I thought the thing had just died and was starting to decay. See, everytime I've seen a picture of a butterfly cocoon, the thing was hanging upsidedown and was brown and oval.

This thing... well, you can see it in the first picture. It had attatched itself to the side of the container. It spun a small white thread around its "belly" from one side to another, to keep it connected. Then it got all horny. HeHeHe. Really, there's little spikes and stuff to it; and it stayed green.

Well, Erica and I made a trip to the library. I love that place. And we got tons of books on caterpillars. I wanted to figure out what this thing was. AMAZINGLY, one of the books we found was dedicated solely to this guy [gal]. Its a small cabbage white butterfly. The book even told us how to tell if it was a boy or girl.

So we waited and waited, checking everyday to see if it "hatched" yet. Then one morning, a week and a half later, there she was! I was so sad that we missed seeing it come out. But it was still exciting. Erica was thrilled. She was able to tell me that it was a girl.

We found another caterpillar too. Raised that one as well. I was afraid she wasn't gonna make it. Sunday night I was showing the cocoon to a friend. I had the lid off and was pointing closely to it, b/c you could actually see the wings underneath the cocoon. Well, Erica was so excited and jumped into me; my finger poked hard at the cocoon and knocked it off the wall.

I was afraid that either the shock of the fall would have killed her OR the fact that the cocoon wasn't held in place would keep her from being able to work her way out. But alas, today when we came home, she was out and flying all around in her jar.

It was such a fun experience. I wanna do it again and again!


Kristi said...

We have always wanted to try it for the whole cycle. Maybe next year.

crazy working mom said...

OMG, this is way cool!!! :)

Where are the pictures?

Becky L said...

Kristi- You may still have time. Aparently, this type of caterpillar in particular is very "hardy" and continues reproducing even towards fall. So you may be able to find some caterpillars out there still.

crazy working mom- can't you see the pictures? Hmm...