Friday, November 20, 2009
Here's my little Orange Dog caterpillar, safely tucked away for the winter.
I realized the other day that my knowledge of caterpillar metamorphosis came largely from The Very Hungry Caterpillar and exceedingly hazy memories of high school Biology, so I'm trying to do a little reading up on what it is that caterpillars do to become butterflies.
I still need to make a trip to the library, where I hope to find a really good book that details the process, but so far, net searching has given me two new facts (That is, facts that are new to me; others probably know perfectly well):
1) A cocoon is not a chrysalis, and a chrysalis is not a cocoon. Cocoons are spun from silk, the chrysalis is a layer of skin hardened; moths do cocoons, butterflies form chrysalises, so that's what this guy was doing all those days he seemed to just be sitting there shrinking.
2) Butterflies--some? all?--spend some of their time in the chrysalis as a sort of biological soup. No one is really sure how the creature gets from caterpillar to DNA soup to butterfly. That is pretty amazing!