Last summer, Aki and I started our caterpillar project. I thought it was going to be a walk in the park. We have a calamansi plant in our backyard that those carnivorous caterpillar-eating birds did not know of. Unfortunately, someone spilled our secrets and we found ourselves shooing away the birds more often. Weeks had past and none of our wormy pets turned into a butterfly.
Things only got better when I rediscovered the old tulle we used to babyproof our electric fans when Aki was still a young toddler. With the help of the tulle, we were able to keep our caterpillars safe from birds.
Here is what we learned about these interesting creepy crawlers
We learned that initially, they are black. The newly hatched caterpillar actually looks like insect poop. Give it a couple of days and it will grow into this
Don’t blink because in a few hours, it will be turn green
The green caterpillar will greedily eat leaves. No wonder it will triple in size in just a matter of days
It is ready to transform once it starts to look like this
Now, it will start producing and covering itself with web.
The cocoon… Bow.
Everyday and every possible minute, we checked on how it was doing.
Then one Saturday morning, we were greeted by cutest little thing
Nothing compares to actually witnessing the things we only see in books and in TV. We learned that one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful masterpiece starts out looking like insect poop. We learned that some life events happen really fast so it is really important to be truly present. We learned that success is much sweeter after experiencing some failures. For this batch, there were 4 caterpillars. Only 3 of them got to the cocoon stage. I never knew what happened to that one poor caterpillar. Of the three cocoons, only one turned into a butterfly. The other two were attacked by ants. We learned that we need not go far to witness something magical. I hope this simple project has strengthened Aki’s curiosity, sense of wonder and persistence.