Sunday, March 3, 2013

and this is happening (gremlin caterpillars)

So the story goes that one of K.Lo's friends gave her this awesome butterfly kit for her birthday. It comes with a mesh "house" and instructions, and then you go online and order the caterpillars whenever you're ready. Like don't have a vacation planned in the middle of the experience, or whatever. So the caterpillars arrive not long after in a bubble-wrapped cup. Open IMMEDIATELY. The creatures inside don't move much, don't look like much. They're maybe a centimeter long, 5 small streaks in the mud, and you shrug and say, well okay. And put them on the kitchen counter, out of the sunlight. There's tannish sludge food on the bottom of the cup, and they must be eating it, because a week or so later those suckers are huge. And they still don't move that much, but they're definitely alive and active and accomplishing something with their furry, undulating lives. And they're totally cool. Pre-butterflies! But also they're sort of gross, like the no-longer-mogwai gremlins that form a goopy, crunchy pod around themselves and hatch into something sinister and green. Except we know that's not at all what's happening, and this is nature, live and up close, and it's totally rad. Despite or maybe because of its alarming evolution. Eventually they migrate to the top of the hole-punched lid to become full chrysalises (and leave behind their heads? i think?), or at least four of them do. The last is just laying there in the muck food, looking to be dead, or something, but then you realize it's just the Gregor Samsa of the bunch and place him on a napkin on the bottom of the mesh house, while the others stay attached to their paper disk, pinned to the side of the house, all lying in wait to become butterflies.


somebodys mom said...

How totally cool is that!

erin j said...

yeah. we did this for gj's bday last year. except i ordered 45 (WHY??) and gave some to ej's teacher and then babysat the insanely gross caterpillars and prayed that some of them made it out alive for her party. NONE of them stayed on the sheet they way they were supposed to and so I had to scoop them off the bottom of the net thing (OMG gross) and TAPE them (yes tape them... with scotch tape) to the little paper they were supposed to hang on... geez. I mean the end result was very nice... but getting there... OH and be prepared... so very prepared for the grossness that comes with the hatching. It's not blood, but it might as well be... just be prepared. and yeah, have fun and stuff.
Really it is cool. And I would do it again. Strawberries are good for them and if you have juice on your hand, they may land on your and stay on your hand. Stuff like that makes it SO worth it! ;)

pen said...

i cannot even IMAGINE 9x the number of caterpillars and having to scoop/tape the crunchy pod-things. and the blood-esque meconium! i read about it in the instructions - ew! i was hoping i'd never have to hear that word in my life again, after childbirth. but there it is. i dread it.

but it WILL be awesome. oh, nature. you slay us with your gross beauty.