Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Wonderful Transformation!

The Bible tells us of the radical change of a sinner when they repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 5:17 says: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." God has given us a wonderful example of this in the drastic change of the caterpillar as it changes to a chrysalis and then to a butterfly which doesn't resemble the caterpillar in any way.
On August 17, 2005, part of our family went to the pond near our library to look for monarch caterpillars. After looking for a few minutes, we spotted their yellow, white and black striped bodies on milkweed plants at the end of the pond. We placed three of them into a plastic container to take home. At home, we transferred them to an empty fish tank with a screen top.
Over the next two days the three little guys munched and munched on the milkweed leaves that we had brought back for them. One of them ate so much that he shed his skin. On Friday, they all headed up to the top of the tank and started to spin silk on the mesh top. When they completed making a sticky pad, they turned around and stuck their back end to it. Slowly letting go with their feet, they hung in a J shape.
About ten hours later the caterpillar's antennas went limp. Their skin began to split from their head all the way up to the attached end. They were now a light green color with light yellow stripes, but they slowly shrunk and hardened into all green chrysalises. Two of the caterpillars became chrysalises in the middle of the night, but we were able to watch the third one's skin split on Saturday afternoon. It was an amazing sight to watch.
After eleven days of waiting, we noticed the chrysalises had turned a very dark color. We later realized that we were actually seeing the butterfly through the clear casing. We had the joy of watching all three butterflies immerge out into the world. At first they had a very fat spotted body and small withered orange wings which grew bigger as liquid from its body filled out the veins. When their wings were fully formed, the butterflies opened and closed them to help them dry. That is when we noticed that they were all males by the dot on the lower wing. They didn't look anything like the striped caterpillars they had once been.
They rested in our butterfly tent for a day and then we took them back to the pond to let them go. They will probably start their journey to Mexico for the winter. Their children or grandchildren will return to our pond at the library and lay their eggs on the milkweed plants. When the tiny caterpillars immerge, the whole
wonderful transforming cycle will start again.

Josiah (and mom)

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