Caterpillars grow up so fast! It only took 19 days for our little Monarch caterpillars to grow 2,000 times their hatching size and slide into their chrysalis. Unlike the caterpillar of a moth that wraps itself in a cocoon made of silk, a butterfly caterpillar actually sheds, or pupates its exoskeleton to become a pupa.
You know a Monarch caterpillar is ready to pupate when it attaches itself to a sturdy object with a button of silk and hangs upside-down. When hanging upside down they curl up slightly and look like the letter “J.” This is called, “hanging in J.” The caterpillars will “hang in J” for eight hours before they begin to pupate. Then, it only takes 20 minutes to form the pupa!
The pupa, or chrysalis, is a beautiful jade-green and it even has a golden crown around the top! The Monarch pupa will stay in its chrysalis for about 10 days as a pupa.
You can see all of our chrysalis in the Greensboro Science Center lobby by the kinetic sculpture. You can also come for a very special event this Friday at 10:00 AM for the dedication of our Monarch Waystations. The event will include some very special guests and a Monarch butterfly release, so come flutter by!
Friday also marks the debut of a brand new 3-D OmniSphere show, Flight of the Butterflies. In this incredible film, you’ll have the chance to join hundreds of millions of real butterflies on an amazing journey to a remote and secret hideaway. Plus, hear about the true story of one scientist’s 40-year search to unravel the mystery of Monarchs: where do they go each fall?
Flight of the Butterflies will be playing in the OmniSphere through January 9, 2015. Check out the complete schedule on our website: http://www.greensboroscience.org/events/omnisphereshows/index.shtml