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    Copyright © 2009-2017
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From Caterpillars to Chrysalises

“From Caterpillars to Chrysalises” by Joan Y. Edwards

When I started teaching kindergarten in 1993, I ordered caterpillars from Insect Lore order page and a box to put them in and show your students the life cycle of a butterfly. I’ve always loved butterflies. When I was little, I was guilty of catching them with a net. I let them go. I never could stick them in a book or a glass case like other people did. When Carl and I were married, we released butterflies. I had ordered Painted Lady butterflies. They emerged 10 days too soon. I couldn’t let them live half of their lives in a container. I heard that they only live two weeks.

So I found two women who raised Monarch Butterflies in a nearby town. As it happened, they had Monarchs that had just emerged. The women put each of the Monarchs in a separate envelope. They said I could put them in the refrigerator or in a dark closet. I chose the dark closet. They hibernated. Then we released them on our wedding day, September 6, 1997.

Here are directions for Monarchs: Mr Butterflies http://www.mrbutterflies.com/instructions.htm

Here are facts about Monarch butterflies.

The ones I have from insect lore are Painted Ladies.

Here is a link to the directions for the Painted Lady butterflies:

Here are pictures I took of the ones I got from caterpillars to chrysalis stage on Shutterfly. You don’t have to sign in to view them. Just click on View Album on the left. If you want to view as a slide show, choose Play Slideshow. You can pause it with the circle in the middle.


All five caterpillars became a chrysalis on Sunday, June 6, 2010. The two girls, Sadie and Bernice were first (I named the girls). Then George, Joe, and Bill (my husband, Carl named them) made theirs by Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. It was almost like I could watch it happening right before my eyes. I saw one that was half chrysalis and half caterpillar. Neat.

I moved the chrysalises (can also be called chrysalides) to their new home today. I removed all the silk so they wouldn’t get tangled up in it when they emerge as butterflies. I used scissors to cut through the silk webs so I wouldn’t pull on the chrysalis (cocoons). I taped the round disc of paper they were hanging from to the top of their home. They are happy campers. They may emerge as butterflies as early as next Sunday or as late as Wednesday of next week – 7 to 10 days.

The following page has a video of Painted Lady butterflies emerging. Cool.

Just before the emerge, the chrysalis turns from the golden color to a dark black.

Go to http://www.insectlore.com for more information on butterflies and other insects.

Like the butterfly, what helps us to Never Give Up is being willing to accept change. Look for the good things about being in the stage you’re in right now. See if you can compare yourself to the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, or butterfly. You’re at the perfect time in your life for change or you can be ready for it in 7 – 10 days…your butterfly stage could last as long as nine months if you’re a Monarch. Choose how to change what your thinking to expect good, powerful things to happen to you. Imagine your joy and celebration when you get what you expect. Allow yourself to be happy.

As Linda Andersen, SCBWI member from Fayetteville said, “Someone needing an inspiration for a writing project might enjoy doing this (ordering caterpillars) and those who need a break from all their writing/reading can try it as a way to refresh themselves and remind themselves that their rough drafts will become beautiful works of art.”

Enjoy living today. It’s a gift.

Ask questions. Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. It would honor me greatly if you subscribe to my blog from the column on the left.

Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.


8 Responses

  1. Joan,

    This is a cool post. Maybe you’ll inspire others to order caterpillars so they can experience this miracle of transformation. This would be especially good for families looking for entertainment and educational experiences for their children. A great family project.

    Linda A.


    • Dear Linda, Thanks for writing a comment here. I appreciate it very much. You’re right. It would be great if others order the caterpillars so they can experience this miracle of transformation. It’s very simple. Sugar water on a paper towel or on an orange slice is the only food they need until they’re ready to be released on their own. Enjoy Life’s Journey Joan Y. Edwards joanyedwards@earthlink.net


  2. What an interesting story. It must be fascinating to watch.
    And, writing is similar . . . perseverance is what usually gets us to the finish line.


    • Dear Karen, Thanks for writing a comment. It really is interesting to watch. You’re right. Writing is similar…perseverance is what usually gets us to the finish line. I’ll post another blog when they hatch out and when release them and let them go. It’s an awesome experience letting them go. Sometimes they just sit on your hand for a few moments and then flutter away. Have a good day! http://www.joanyedwards.com/FlipFlapFloodle.htm Enjoy Life’s Journey


  3. I love butterflies. Our area is on the migration path for the monarch in the fall. It is a beautiful sight to see them by the hundreds as they fly through.

    A funny thing: in my tween novel, Just Breeze, Breeze writes her English essay on metamorphosis.

    Thanks for the links. Will check them out.


    • Dear Beverly, (rebelinbluejeans-I like that name), Thanks for writing me a comment. Awesome that you are in the migration route of the Monarchs. Do you have pictures of them as they come through? I would love to see them if you do. That’s neat in your book “Just Breeze” that Breeze write her English essay on metamorphosis. It defies logic. It’s definitely magical to me. Enjoy Life’s Journey Like Flip Flap Floodle say, “I Won’t Give Up – http://www.joanyedwards.com/FlipFlapFloodle.htm

      Joan Y. Edwards joanyedwards@earthlink.net


      • Thanks, Joan. Rebel in Blue Jeans is one of my teen novels. Yes, I do have some pictures I’ve taken of the monarchs. I’d catch them early in the morning while they were still roosting or late in the evening in the trees. I think I have some posted online somewhere. If I can find them I’ll send a link, or post them again. 🙂

        I’ll check out Flip Flap Floodle. Is this a book?


        • Dear Beverly, Thanks for writing back. It would be fabulous if you could find the link to the pictures you have of the monarchs. I’ll post a link to the pictures and your blog or website wherever they are. That will be cool. Flip Flap Floodle is a children’s book about a happy little duck who believes his song will save him from Mr. Fox. You can purchase it on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Flip+Flap+Floodle&x=15&y=17 or from me – items I sell are on my website: http://www.joanyedwards.com/FlipFlapFloodle.htm. Enjoy your day. Enjoy Life’s Journey Don’t Give Up – Read my blog – http://www.joanyedwards.com.wordpress.com

          Joan Y. Edwards joanyedwards@earthlink.net 1. Pub Sub 3rd Fri – Submit a manuscript to a publisher on the third Friday of each month. May I count you in? 2. Be like Flip Flap Floodle and say, “I Won’t Give up.” 3. http://www.joanyedwards.com Inspirational devotions, puzzles, and skits for children


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