Each dozen (or more- who knows with these tiny caterpillars) were in a container with leaves nestled on a coffee filter. The filter was to be attached to the trunk of a small pawpaw and then the tree covered with a white mesh bag. It is designed to let in air and sunlight but exclude birds and small predatory wasps that might want to lay their eggs on our cats. Once the bag is secured, the cats crawl all over the little tree, devouring the leaves and producing an awesome pile of frass in the bottom of the bag. Yes, frass is just what you think it is, known among school children by the other scientific term, poop.
|Note Silk Trapeze|
We waited 3 more days before opening the last bags. Most of the cats had formed their chrysalides and we put the other few cats in a container with some sticks and leaves for them to attach to. All but two of these pupated over the next 24 hours.
When butterflies form a pupa (called a chrysalis), they weave a silk trapeze around the top to hold their future body upright. (See picture) Inside, the caterpillar turns to a mass of goo, then miraculously reconfigures into a butterfly. The silk keeps the butterfly head up so that when it emerges, gravity will help pull its wings as they inflate and dry fully extended. Chris and Deb will hang the chrysalides in the house in this same position.
|Chris Barnhart's Zebra color wheel|
His unusual facts page is on the FOG News Blog.
Details of the Zebra/Pawpaw connection are at Blueridgediscoveryproject.blogspot.com