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Educational Butterfly Kit Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of butterfly will the caterpillar become?
They will become Painted Lady butterflies.

How long does the entire life cycle take?
It takes approximately 30 days from the time the caterpillar emerges from the egg to the time they become an adult butterfly. The caterpillars your class will receive will be about five days old (in their second instar).

What is an instar?
An instar is when a caterpillar sheds it's skin.

How many instars does a Painted Lady caterpillar go through?
There are five instars the Painted Lady goes through, the last is when it forms its chrysalis.

What do Painted Lady caterpillars eat in the wild?
Their preferred host plants are the Hollyhock and the Thistle.

What is the food they come with made of?
The food provided with your caterpillars is made from ground Hollyhock, Thistle, wheat germ and sugar.

How long will it take before the caterpillars go into chrysalis?
It varies from one caterpillar to the next but typically it take between 17 and 20 days.

How long do they stay in chrysalis?
They remain in chrysalis for approximately 10 to 12 days.

Does temperature have any effect on the length of time it takes for a caterpillar to go into chrysalis?
Yes, the warmer it is, the faster they will go through their life cycle.

What do they eat once they become butterflies?
All butterflies will eat the pollen from any flower. Do not buy flowers from any store as they will have been sprayed with a pesticide. We feed them orange Gatorade . They like the colour and it's composition is not far from that of flower nectar. Simply soak a cotton ball in the Gatorade and wipe it on the mesh walls of the butterfly house.

What is the red liquid that comes out of a butterfly's abdomen after emergence?
The red material that comes out of the abdomen after the butterfly's emergence is metabolic waste material left over from metamorphosis. It is not responsible for the wing colors, which are caused by scales and chemical pigments.

How long does a Painted Lady butterfly live?
The Painted Lady will live for about two and a half months.

How many caterpillars come in a Painted Lady Educational Kit?
There are twenty five caterpillars in a kit. Each caterpillar comes in its own cup with enough food to sustain it to the chrysalis state. The lid is lined with a piece of filter paper that makes it easier for the caterpillar to attach its chrysalis.

What is the webbing in some of the cups from?
This is created by the caterpillar as a protected area to sleep in after eating.

What should I do if the caterpillar doesn't secure itself to the filter paper?
Sometimes a caterpillar doesn't secure itself to the paper. If this happens, simply take the chrysalis and place the stem through the mesh wall of the butterfly house. It should hang quite nicely this way.
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