I had to bring three pupas home this weekend, as two looked like they were going to emerge at any minute and the third looked a few days away. As the students all know, the pupas become translucent and when we woke up on Saturday morning, we knew this was it. However, we had a problem. We had to go downtown for dance class and then I had a game. My solution? I strapped the cage into the back seat with the seatbelt. I felt a little looney, but I'm so happy we did it. At just after 11:00 AM on Saturday morning, two monarchs emerged in my car, whilst I played Ultimate and my daughter watched. :-)
Sunday morning, we came downstairs to see the last of our monarch babies emerged. I do hope tomorrow is a bit warmer and drier than today, as I do not like the idea of keeping the butterflies much longer. I am finding them more and more aggressive as the cold weather moves in and their instinct to migrate South increases.
We have only one last pupa to emerge, DJ, the little larva which Devon found.
Look at the difference in the size of the wings!
We had FOUR butterflies to release today! We watched 2 of them emerging during class time this week. We were able to film the first emergence on Wednesday, one yesterday during the Terry Fox run, one overnight and then one during our Math quiz this morning!
We released all 4 butterflies before the end of the day today. Most students were able to be photographed with a butterfly on their face, finger, etc. It was a very exciting day for all of us. I will have copies of the photos later on and will email each student their photo with the butterfly in a few days.
We have four more pupas set to emerge. I had to take them home with me for the weekend, as two are black and on the verge, one by Sunday and our little DJ will be ready next week, hopefully before Thanksgiving weekend.
My daughter, Tallulah, releasing a butterfly.
I didn't think I'd have to update the Monarch Blog during the weekend, but two exciting things happened. On Friday, we could not release the butterflies, due to the rain, cold and wind. I could not longer keep them, as too much handling of their wings is not good for them. I, therefore, had to release them today. Although it rained most of the morning, it had warmed up by late afternoon. My children and I released them and waved them off to Mexico. My daughter, Tallulah, was especially thrilled, as she helped me raise the 6 baby cats
I realize the class had to miss a release, however, we still have 8 pupas and one more to add on to it....yes, you guessed it, DJ became a pupa today. I was worried about him on Friday, as I did not have any fresh milkweed. Devon was convinced he was going on his walkabout, but I was following the science and thought not. I'm sorry, Devon, you were.....uhm....right. (Don't you just hate being wrong?) I brought him home, as I was so worried, gave him some fresh milkweed that evening and 2 hours later he was in a "J". By 3:00 this afternoon, he had turned into a chrysalis.
The class let me know that it was ok to release "George" this weekend. I cannot ethically keep him for much longer. We adopted one of Mrs. Matheson's butterflies and were hoping to release her today, but it was too rainy to do so. Again, I do not feel right keeping it for much longer; therefore, I will release her this weekend when/if there is a break in the weather.
DJ is getting bigger and bigger. I had to take him home this weekend, as I ran out of milkweed and couldn't leave him there to starve. So I carted a caterpillar and 3 butterflies home in the car to Barrhaven this weekend!
We are hoping all our pupas will emerge by next Friday. We will have 7, including "Larry" and DJ should be our last pupa, as he's still in his latter stages of the 3rd instar.
It will be exciting in the class next week.
Our folded up butterfly is still alive. I'll admit, I'm avoiding its release. Any ideas, advice or support is most welcome. :-) Sigh.....
Rachel's pupa, which she brought in on the 2nd day of school, has yet to emerge....not sure what's going on there, but it's starting to worry me. Unfortunately, there will be no butterflies for you to observe tomorrow night. However, we do have 8 pupas and a big, fat caterpillar (DJ) for you to check out.
Fresh milkweed is always welcome for our growing cat, DJ.
Upon entering the classroom this morning, I was excited to see "George" had emerged that morning, as his wings were still wrinkled. However, when I looked closer, I saw that one of his wings was a little more wrinkled than the other; the larger wing being folded over. I am not sure what has happened (I have to do a little more research), but I am rather upset to have to share this harsh, realistic lesson in life with the students.
Naturally, I will have to release him, but it will be quite the cause for a good debate in our class about human intervention. I now have to switch all my plans for the next week!
On a brighter note, all our baby cats have turned into pupas, with one cat remaining - DJ - having grown over 8 mm over the weekend. We are still waiting for Rachel's pupa to emerge. Odd that her's is taking so much longer than George did....I think he emerged prematurely.
Sorry for the extra link, but I made a mistake when I first started creating the Monarch Journal; I created a "page" as oppose to a "blog". Sorry, I'm still learning all this.
Today, on this day off for students, I walked into the class with 2 new pupas, 2 cats in a "J" and one pupa hidden amidst the leaves (I can see its skin, but can't find it!). DJ is still growing strong (we thought it was dying yesterday), but now I realize it was just molting into its next instar. All the cats have created their pupas under a leaf, so it's a bit more difficult to find and they blend right in - fascinating!
We released 2 butterflies yesterday. We were not able to get any great photo opportunities, as they were anxious to get to Mexico. The one butterfly remained a few seconds on Shannon's nose!
We have had a very exciting week with the cats. We have learned about their "instars", their life cycle and timeline of each instar. We have seen these little cats grow right from their 2nd instar, to 5th and into a pupa. It will be exciting to see all the butterflies emerge and predict when they will emerge. No one needs to worry about missing out on the releases, we will ensure all grade 4s are present during the release ceremonies.
We have also been going on nature/habitat walks, whereby we are observing and listing all the animals and plants present in a butterfly's habitat. The students are enthralled with these walks and it truly is a joy to see them so excited over discovering frogs, praying mantises, grasshoppers, crickets, etc.