Butterfly Education & Awareness Day – 5th June 2021

Butterfly Education  & Awareness Day takes place on the first Saturday of June every year.  The purpose of the day is to understand and celebrate butterflies.

In Nursery we will discuss the lifecycle of a butterfly.   Butterflies have four life stages, the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. Each of the four stages are unique to individual species of butterflies.

The egg stage usually lasts three to seven days but this can vary between different species of butterflies.

A very tiny caterpillar hatches from the egg. The first meal for most caterpillars is the eggshell. The caterpillar is designed to be an “eating-machine” and before it begins to pupate it will increase its body mass thousands of times.  This stage lasts between two to five weeks.  Many caterpillars do not make it to the next stage – being killed by the weather, disease or predators.  Adult butterflies lay hundreds of eggs, but with only a few making it to a butterfly.

When the caterpillar prepares for the chrysalis stage, they make a silk mat and attach themselves at the base. The caterpillar also spins a string of silk around its body and attaches the strings to the branch to hold the chrysalis in place.  Not all butterfly species attach in the same way. Actually, the majority of butterflies will hang upside down from their silk pad.  This stage lasts one to two weeks.

When a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis its wings are crumpled. The butterfly will hang with its wings down and will begin pumping the wings full of fluids from their body to straighten them out. Then the butterfly waits a few hours for the wings to harden and dry before it can fly.

The lifespan of most adult butterflies is about two to three weeks but this varies among species.