The Life Cycle of a Butterfly

We have passion flowers growing wild in our back yard.

And it just so happens that the passion flower is the food of choice for the Gulf Fritillary Butterfly. Which, as a caterpillar, is orange and spiky. Some have more stripes, some more orange.

We've done this before- a couple years ago. So this year when the caterpillars started to appear, we pulled a few vines and brought them inside. We started with 3. Then Cale couldn't help himself and brought in a few more. And we ended up with a couple of unseen eggs that hatched into tiny baby caterpillars. And of course when the boys went to fetch more food, there always seemed to be just one more on the vine.

And throughout the past few weeks we've been able to watch these insects grow and change. And we've also gotten a lesson in survival of the fittest. We started with 3 chrysalises- one looked good, the others a little funny. Those funny one's didn't make it. One didn't stand a chance, one looked like it died while trying to emerge. Then we had a couple attempt to turn on the floor of the tent as opposed to hanging. They didn't get too far.

That is not a healthy chrysalis. Another was hanging, looking great. Almost ready to make the change from a caterpillar to chrysalis. Then it turned black and fell. We have 2 more caterpillars and 2 more healthy chrysalises that should open within a day or so. And 2 have emerged so far.

The first emergence was last week and we saved the butterfly all morning until our co-op met and released it then. I didn't get too many- or any- good pictures of that one. Too chaotic.

But this one emerged this morning. We found it seconds after, still wet and wrinkled.

It rested and by mid-morning it was fluttering around and ready to be released.

I absolutely love the coloring of these butterflies. And between the passion flowers they lay eggs on, and the cosmos they love to drink from. We get our fair share of them in our yard.

My boys love this part.

Good thing that when they are brand new they don't quite fly as much .

Everyone got their fair share of holding it, and fetching it from the window it kept making it's way over to.

Until finally the door was opened and it flew out into the sky.


  1. How awesome to be able to see that. Those flowers are beautiful, as are the butterflies! It's always so fun that the butterflies move a little slower so everyone can get their "holding time" in. :)

  2. How Awesome! Good morning! Now following you from the HHH. Stop by and like me back, if you would. Have a wonderfully blessed day!

  3. Great pictures! My kids just love watching the butterflies come out.

  4. Oh, I so can't wait to raise them ourselves, again. I love the photos.