Easy as 1-2-3 Butterfly

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Butterfly Lifecycle Video

video courtesy of http://jcmdi.com

Care Info: Painted Lady Butterflies

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How to Care for Painted Lady Butterflies

1. Getting Started
• Always handle the cup of caterpillars gently.Cup of Painted Lady Caterpillars
• There should be 3 to 5 caterpillars in the cup, ¼ to 1 inch long. At least 3 should become healthy butterflies.
Do not remove the lid. The food on the bottom of the cup is all the caterpillars need.
• Allow caterpillars at least 24 hours to become active. They should start growing quickly within a few days.
• Stand the cup upright at all times; place it in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight.
• Caterpillars may suspend themselves in gray-white webbing. This is good!

Troubleshooting: If food has shifted from the bottom to the side of the cup (which may happen when caterpillars are delivered in hot weather), turn the cup on its side, food down, and wait 2 to 3 days to see if at least 3 caterpillars are alive. Call 800-698-4438 if you need a replacement.

2. Caterpillar to ChrysalisCaterpillar to Chrysalis
• When caterpillars crawl to the top of the cup they are ready to pupate.
• Caterpillars will attach to the paper under the lid and hang from their tail ends.
• They will shed their final caterpillar exoskeleton and form a pupal exoskeleton: the chrysalis.
• Within 2 days after all the chrysalises form, remove the lid from the cup, lift the paper gently, and transfer it to the butterfly house. Tape, paper clip or pin the paper securely to an inside wall (chrysalises hanging down and facing in).

Troubleshooting: If a chrysalis detaches from the paper, roll it gently out of the cup onto a small piece of paper towel on the floor of its house. Position the chrysalis so that the emerging butterfly can easily crawl onto a wall of the butterfly house.

3. Butterflies!Butterfly on finger
• Butterflies will emerge from chrysalises in approximately 7 to 10 days.
• It will take them an hour or two to dry off and stretch their wings.
• After wings harden, butterflies are ready to fly. Release them now or feed them.
• Nectar: 1 teaspoon sugar dissolved with ½ cup tepid water in a small cup. Roll a 5"x 7” piece of paper towel to make a wick long enough to hang over the edge of the cup.
• You may also feed with fresh fruit. Slices of orange or watermelon are best.
• Butterflies can live as long as a month or more indoors, but it’s best to release them within a week.
Troubleshooting: If a butterfly doesn’t emerge completely from its chrysalis, there is—sadly—nothing you can do to help. Carry the chrysalis outside and place it in a bush or other plant. The insect will die a natural death and will probably be eaten by another animal. Remember: caterpillars and butterflies are important parts of your local food web.

4. ReleaseButterfly Release
• Celebrate! Share a healthy snack during your afternoon recess and release butterflies as a special gift to the Earth. Outside temperature should be at least 55º.
• Open your butterfly house and allow a butterfly to crawl onto your hand (or a student’s).
• The butterfly will borrow heat from your body to warm itself up to 68º. It must be at least this warm to fly.
• If your butterfly is reluctant to fly away, help it by gently pushing it onto a bush or other plant.
• Repeat with remaining butterflies.
• Your butterflies may live all summer and well into the autumn.

Good Things to Know
• FRASS—the little balls that appear all over the cup—is caterpillar excrement.
• Caterpillars shed their EXOSKELETONS several times. You may see small black balls of exoskeleton in the cup or attached to the end of the chrysalis.
• WEB is sticky and dense. It helps caterpillars hang onto leaves in windy or wet weather and protects them from predators.
• The chrysalis may QUIVER or TREMBLE. This discourages predators.
• MECONIUM is the reddish fluid that butterflies expel when they emerge from their chrysalises. It’s a waste product left over from metamorphosis.
• If you have both males and females, females may lay EGGS before you release them. If eggs hatch, you might want to try feeding the caterpillars thistle, parsley, or hollyhock leaves.

Simple Science: Butterflies

Ready to learn more about butterflies? Get your students reading, observing, counting, writing and drawing with these free downloads.

Butterfly Anatomy

Simple Science: Butterfly Anatomy

Learn all the body parts of your caterpillars and butterflies! Worksheet and answer key. Understanding anatomy will help the students describe and draw what they see as the butterflies grow and change.
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Butterfly Life Cycle

Simple Science: Butterfly Life Cycle

Here’s all the information you need to teach life cycles, plus a cut-and-color worksheet for students. The life cycle of a painted lady butterfly has 4 stages. From an egg, to a tiny caterpillar that eats, grows and eats some more, then a chrysalis and finally emerging as a butterfly that flies away on a breeze, it’s amazing to watch!
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Butterfly Anatomy

Simple Science: Butterfly Vocabulary

What do we call the different parts of a butterfly? What stages does the butterfly go through on its journey from caterpillar to flying insect? This comprehensive resource serves as a study guide and worksheet for older children and as a reference for those developing curriculum for younger ones.
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Caterpillar Growth Chart

Simple Science: Caterpillar Growth Chart

Observe and record your butterfly caterpillar growing, growing, growing! A single-sheet chart for noting date and measurements. Charting the growth of your caterpillars over time will help your students improve their math skills. Measure your caterpillar each day. Record its length on the chart by coloring a section for each inch.
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Crawly Caterpillar Ruler

Simple Science: Crawly Caterpillar Ruler

Find out how much your caterpillar grows! Measuring is a basic science activity and measuring your wiggly caterpillars is a fun way to learn about rulers. Students can color the ruler and measure the caterpillars day by day.
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Compare Butterflies & Moths

Simple Science: Comparing Moths and Butterflies

How are butterflies different from moths? What do butterflies and moths have in common? This worksheet and answer key uses reading and coloring to learn about comparing butterflies and moths.
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Fun Stuff: Butterflies

Here are some butterfly-related activities that are just for fun!

Is a Butterfly an Insect? Booklet

Fun Stuff: Is a Butterfly an Insect? Booklet

Don’t just read a book…make your own! Color, cut and fold. Then share with friends and family.
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Butterfly Thumbprint Art

Fun Stuff: Butterfly Thumbprint Art

With thumbprints, make drawings of caterpillars and butterflies. A very tactile way to learn about the shapes of insects.
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Butterfly Life Cycle Coloring Book

Fun Stuff: Butterfly Life Cycle Coloring Book

Print out sets of this 5 page coloring booklet. Great for younger students.
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Butterfly Coloring

Fun Stuff: Butterfly Coloring Sheet

A single-sheet coloring template. Download and print multiple copies. Students can draw the colors and patterns they observe on their adult butterflies – or, they can get creative and draw butterflies they might like to see!
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Butterfly Symmetry

Fun Stuff: Butterfly Symmetry

This art activity helps students understand the symmetry of a butterflies wings, and it’s a fun surprise too.
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Butterfly Life Cycle Song

Fun Stuff: Butterfly Life Cycle Song

Now that you’ve been learning about butterflies, you can learn and sing this song. Share with friends and family!
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Butterfly Word Scrambles

Fun Stuff: Butterfly Word Scrambles

What’s a word scramble? A fun way to work with letters! Instructions and templates for printing out the words CATERPILLARS and BUTTERFLIES. Students cut out letters, then see how many smaller words they can form from the vowels and consonants available. If you have older students, challenge them to make sentences as well!
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