Over the last week most of our butterflies have emerged and been released.
When they first crawl out of their chrysalis, there wings are all crumpled up. It's amazing to watch them as their wings go from crumpled to full size.
It's been challenging to get good pictures as they emerge from the chrysalis. Here's an image of the butterfly about 10 seconds after it crawled out of it's chrysalis.
It does take some time before they are ready to fly. Even after the wings look fully opened, the butterfly might hang around for another 15 minutes before starting to flutter.
Here's a picture of the case with a few butterflies that have been out of their chrysalis for about 30 minutes.
From comparing the two pictures, you can see how crumple the wings were in the first picture.
A few times, we've taken their case out to a field with flowers. Some butterflies are ready to go as soon as the lid comes off. Others just aren't ready to go.
We have a solution of sugar water available in their case. For the butterflies that stay around, we put a drop of the sugar water on a finger and offer the butterfly some food. Some of them seem to love it and stay put as long as we are feeding them. Others just ignore and continue with the wing drying process.
My daughter has gotten good at identifying which ones are interested in eating by watching their tongues. If she sees it flickering in and out, she will try a feeding. Then you get to see what a really long tongue looks like! Their tongues are curled up in a spiral, but look like they could be about have the length of the butterfly body!
The best part is when we're out in the field and encounter painted lady butterflies flittering from flower to flower.
My son is keen to find their eggs and start the process again. As far as I'm concerned, he's welcome to go ahead. I doubt he'll actually find the eggs, but he'll have fun looking!
Read more about raising Painted Lady Butterflies.