We’ve been really groovin’ on the caterpillars in a container as the centerpiece for our dining table. I realize this might be strange to some people but it’s normal for us. There’s something wonderful about watching the caterpillars eat their meal as we eat ours. The container doesn’t always have munching caterpillars though. Sometimes it’s still and quiet with hanging chyrsalides.
We released the last butterfly that emerged from its chrysalis in our other container. So, we went on a hunt in our yard for new ones.
The kids discovered some butterfly eggs on a couple of passion fruit vine leaves. Grayson thinks they’re gulf fritillary eggs. I thought they might be zebra longwings, but we learned they lay their eggs in clusters. The gulf fritillary will only lay a single egg. We will find out soon enough. It’ll be a nice surprise.
They’re in our cycle of life centerpiece on the family table. When the eggs hatch, we’ll keep adding fresh passion fruit vine leaves and flowers for them to eat. We always add a stick with no leaves into the container for them to form a chrysalis on when they’re ready.
The jar and lid in the picture is usually used for sprouting seeds. It’s not ideal to keep caterpillars in though because they can easily escape. An airtight lid is fine to use for a while because they have plenty of oxygen at this early stage. When the eggs hatch, we will move the caterpillars into our favorite plastic container that has a mesh top. Butterflies and caterpillars breathe through holes in the sides of their abdomens that deliver oxygen through a system of tracheae.
We’re keeping our eyes peeled for a swallowtail caterpillar.
Come grow with us!