Sunday, October 14, 2012

Butterflies Make the Rules

September is Butterfly month in the Explore Lab.  I'm always on "pins and needles" trying to decide when to schedule the lab.  It seems the butterflies never consult with me as to when they will be stopping by.  I have to schedule the lab months in advance and it can get kind of tricky trying to figure out when they are coming through our area.  Fortunately, this year, I was only a week late.  There were still plenty of butterflies and caterpillars but a week earlier would have been even better.  I think the butterflies just like to make sure I understand that I am not the boss of them! They make the rules...
Gulf Fritillary or Passion Butterfly, Agraulis vanillae were especially prolific this year.  

                                                 Gulf Fritillary egg taken at 60X


                compound eyes and proboscis taken with the 
              Scope on a Rope from Furman University. 

We found out the differences between butterflies and moths with a Venn Diagram.  
Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)
moth antennae
                                                   Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
We watched this amazing monarch caterpillar emerge from its egg!

We learned that butterfly wings are made up of thousands of tiny scales. 
This a picture of a caterpillar's "prolegs".  Prolegs are the ten soft padded legs at the back of the caterpillar.  

I just can't understand why some people don't love bugs! 

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