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Raising Painted Lady Butterflies

Updated on September 13, 2014

From Caterpillar, To Chrysalis, To Beautiful Painted Lady Butterfly!

My son and I raised two Painted Lady Butterflies from caterpillars, to chrysalises, to beautiful orange, brown, black, and white Painted Lady Butterflies!

In the process, we learned a great deal about butterflies!

Did you know that butterflies need the sun in order to fly? It's true! I'll share more about that and other things that we learned about Painted Lady eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises, and butterflies, as well as several of the pictures that we took, on this site. I'll discuss the various stages of the butterfly life cycle, and provide tips on how to raise butterflies. I'll also direct you to some great links and books where you can find out more! Perhaps you'd even like to purchase painted lady caterpillars to raise yourself! I hope you have fun exploring all that this site has to offer! In the picture above, you can see one of our Painted Lady Butterflies after we released him into our backyard.

Here Are Some Photos of Painted Lady
Eggs, Caterpillars, and Adult Butterflies.

Painted Lady Butterflies begin life as a tiny green egg.

- The pale green eggs resemble a barrel.

Painted Lady Butterfly eggs are very small, about the size of the head of a pin, and are a pale green color. They have 12 to 14 white ridges running from the top to the bottom. Right before hatching, the eggs will turn a darker color. They hatch into very tiny caterpillars about 3 to 5 days after being laid.

A female adult Painted Lady Butterfly can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. She will be ready to lay eggs about 5 to 7 days after she's emerged from her chrysalis (pupa stage). She prefers to lay her eggs on plants that the caterpillars will enjoy eating when they hatch. (See the next section for a list of some of these.)

My drawing above may give you a little bit of an idea as to what a Painted Lady Butterfly egg looks like, although keep in mind that a real egg is no bigger than the point of a pin!

Painted Lady Butterflies like Thistle Plants!
Painted Lady Butterflies like Thistle Plants! | Source

After about 3 to 5 days, the eggs hatch into Painted Lady caterpillars.

- Caterpillars are the larva stage of a butterfly.

The first thing Painted Lady Caterpillars do upon hatching is eat their egg case, as it's filled with nutrition for them. Then they look around for more to eat. Caterpillars, which are the larva stage of the butterfly life cycle, eat, and eat, and eat. In fact, they eat almost constantly for about 7 to 10 days. Favorite caterpillar plants include thistle, mallows, peas, plantain, hollyhock, sunflower, and borage, among others.

Caterpillars do take some time every now and then to rest though. When caterpillars are still, it often means they are about to molt. Molting means shedding their skin and occurs when the caterpillars grow too big for their old skin. When they are ready to molt, they make a nest out a sticky substance that resembles a spider web. The nest helps protect the caterpillar while he's molting. Painted Lady Caterpillars molt 5 times.

It is hard to describe the appearance of Painted Lady Caterpillars, as it changes a little after each molt. They have a mostly black body with spines (which may be yellow or black in color). Sometimes the caterpillars have white spots on them or tiny yellow stripes.

They also have spiracles on their abdomens. Spiracles are tiny holes which let air in and out of their bodies. This is how they breath.

The picture above is of a thistle plant, a favorite food of Painted Lady Caterpillars!

Here are some photos of Painted Lady Caterpillars.

Painted Lady Caterpillar

Another Painted Lady Caterpillar

A Painted Lady Caterpillar Molting

Watch a caterpillar hatch out of a Painted Lady Butterfly egg.

This image is greatly magnified, but is a rare chance to see a caterpillar emerge from an egg!

The next stage in the Painted Lady Butterfly lifecycle is the chrysalis. - A chrysalis is the pupa stage of all butterflies.

About 5 to 10 days after becoming caterpillars, the larva attach themselves underneath a branch or leaf (or to the lid if you are keeping them in a cup). They do this by using a silk thread from their spinneret, a hole just under their mouth. They don't spin a cocoon though! That's what moths do! Caterpillars who will become butterflies change into chrysalises. A few hours after hanging upside down from their tails in a J shape, they molt for the last time and become a chrysalis.

Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar becomes a liquid before reforming itself into a butterfly.

Here is a video of a Painted Lady caterpillar becoming a chrysalis.

A chrysalis changes in appearance shortly before the butterfly emerges.

This photo shows you a chrysalis that is almost ready to split open so a butterfly can emerge.
This photo shows you a chrysalis that is almost ready to split open so a butterfly can emerge.

The chrysalis in this picture is 9 days old. A Painted Lady Butterfly emerged from it about an hour after this photo was taken. If you look carefully, you can see the black and orange butterfly through the chrysalis shell.

About 7 to 10 days after becoming a chrysalis (or a little longer if the temperature is colder), the chrysalis becomes more transparent, showing darker colors inside with a few tiny orange spots. The black and orange showing through the shell are the butterfly's wings! Once the chrysalis begins to look like this, it's almost ready to split open so that the Painted Lady Butterfly can emerge!

Never open a chyrsalis shell for a butterfly. It's important that he do it on his own when he's ready.

Watch a Painted Lady Butterfly emerging from it's chrysalis!

(Click on the image to see a larger image. If you are short on time, you might wish to drag the cursor over to the right a little, to get to where the action starts.)

Butterflies must pump fluid into their wings before they can fly.

This is a newly emerged Painted Lady Butterfly pumping fluid Into her wings. She must do this before she can fly for the first time.

Once the chrysalis splits, the butterfly very quickly comes out! It takes only a minute or two for the butterfly to emerge. The butterfly can't fly yet though. He must first get in a certain position, with his head pointing up, or even slightly backwards, and the tips of his wings pointing down. After getting in this position, he pumps fluid into his wings. As he does this, his abdomen gets a little smaller. Tiny bits of a red fluid usually come out of the butterfly. This is meconium. It's perfectly normal for butterflies to lose some meconium. It's just some leftover fluid that the butterfly doesn't need. You can see a little meconium and read more about in the section of this page entitled: Butterflies don't eat. They drink. (No, they don't drink meconium.)

The butterfly in the picture above dropped down to the floor after emerging from his chrysalis. He immediately walked across the floor of his habitat until he found a branch he could pull up on. He sat in the position you see him in now for a little over two hours, while pumping fluid into his wings and resting. Then he began to crawl along the branch a little.

This photograph, of another butterfly, was taken only a few moments after the butterfly emerged. This butterfly held on to the cup lid, in basically the same position as the other butterfly (with the tips of his wings pointing down) for a couple of hours. He too was pumping fluid into his wings and resting. You can see his empty chrysalis shell beside him, still attached to the cup lid.

A Camouflaged Painted Lady Butterfly - Notice how well the butterfly's wings blend in with the branch in front of him!

When the wings of a Painted Lady Butterfly are closed,he is very well camouflaged against a tree branch.

The picture above was taken about 2 and a half hours after the butterfly emerged from his chrysalis. This is the same butterfly you can see hanging from a tree branch in a previous section.

Butterflies are solar-powered! - They need the sun in order to fly!

A Painted Lady Butterfly About Three Hours After Emerging

Did you know butterflies need the sun in order to fly? We didn't, until our butterflies emerged from their chrysalises. They seemed to be just sitting around even after their two and a half hour session of filling their wings with fluids was over. In fact, by late afternoon, they continued to just sit or walk around their habitat. Sometimes they opened their wings, but they kept them closed most of this time.

A quick internet search lead me to the information that butterflies need sunlight to fly. Our butterfly habitat had been in the kitchen, which was well lit with a sliding glass door and overhead electric lights, but that wasn't enough for the butterflies. They needed direct sunlight touching and warming their wings. I decided to move their habitat onto the floor directly in front of our sliding glass door. There was a nice patch of sunlight flooding in at that location! As their habitat entered into the sunlight, before I even placed it all the way on the floor, the butterflies seemed to "wake up!" They suddenly started fanning their wings, enjoying the sun! It was like magic! A few minutes later, they began to fly for the first time!!

When dusk came, the butterflies closed their wings until sunlight fell on them again in the morning. When morning came, I knew it would be late afternoon before direct sunlight would once again pour into our sliding glass door, so I took the butterfly habitat outside to the front yard for about 10 minutes, and again the butterflies took to the air, flying all around the aquarium.

Further confirmation of butterflies need for sunlight came the day we decided to release the butterflies into our back yard. All the neighborhood children were gathered to watch, the camera was ready, the large screen lid of the habitat was opened...and the butterflies just sat there. (Actually, the butterflies happened to be hanging onto the screen lid at this particular time, so when we took the lid off, we turned it upside down, so that the butterflies were now sitting on top of their habitat, with no walls or roof to stop their flight). Were the butterflies so fond of us they didn't want to leave? No, it was just late in the afternoon on a cloudy day, and even though it wasn't dark out, there wasn't enough direct sunlight to enable them to fly! No problem! We just put the lid back on and took them back inside. The next time we tried in the morning, on a bright sunshiny day! This time we had success, and the butterflies had their freedom!

How does it work? Research is showing that some of the scales on a butterflies wings collect the heat from sunlight. If you do a search online, you'll likely find several websites which talk about how humans are learning more about solar power from butterflies.

Here are a couple:

Butterfly Wings Have Solar Cells Inside: Inspiration for Scientists

Solar Energy from Butterfly Wings?

Butterflies don't eat. They drink. - In the wild, butterflies drink nectar from flowers. They will also sip juice from an orange!

Butterflies don't really eat anything. They do drink though. They have a very long tongue called a proboscis. It rolls up, much like a fruit roll-up, in their mouths, and can stretch out like a long arm or antennae when they pull it out of their mouths. In the wild, butterflies drink nectar from flowers. This helps the flowers because as they do so, they get little bits of pollen on them, which they then transfer to another flower, thus pollinating it and allowing it to grow seeds. Here's a website which talks more about pollination by butterflies: Pretty Pollinators: The Butterflies.

If you are raising some butterflies, you can add fresh flowers to their habitat. They also enjoy cut oranges, watermelon and apple pieces. In addition, you can prepare a solution of sugar water (3 teaspoons of sugar water to 1 cup of water.) and sprinkle or dip flowers or 2 inch large balls of wadded up tissue into the sugar water. Keep the extra solution in the refrigerator for later use.

Our butterflies enjoyed the fresh flowers with sugar water on them, as well as the orange slices. We didn't try the balls of tissue or the other types of fruit.

The light red color that you see on the paper towel near the butterfly is a little bit of meconium (the extra fluid that butterflies get rid of). One of our butterflies continued to lose meconium off and on for the first day. It was only very tiny drops here and there. The other lost all of his right at the beginning. Yet both butterflies were healthy and were able to fly away when we released them.

This colorful Painted Lady Butterfly is using his very long proboscis (tongue) to drink from a flower.

This colorful Painted Lady Butterfly is using his very long proboscis (tongue) to drink from a flower.
This colorful Painted Lady Butterfly is using his very long proboscis (tongue) to drink from a flower.

It's time to let our Painted Lady Butterflies fly free!

Here's the aquarium which served as a habitat for our Painted Lady Butterflies.

Our caterpillars stayed in cups with lids (1 caterpillar to cup) until they became chrysalises. The cups had all the food that the growing caterpillars would need, so we had to do was watch them grow!

Once they become chrysalises, it's recommended that you leave them in the cup for about 24 hours or so, to allow the chrysalis to harden. Then very carefully remove the lid, taking care not to knock the chrysalis off! Some companies provide paper inside the lid and the caterpillars attach to the paper. Others simply allow the caterpillar to attach directly to the lid.

Next tape or safety pin the lid or paper into the butterfly habitat. It should be about 4 to 8 inches off the floor of the habitat. This allows the butterfly plenty of room to come out of his chrysalis when the time is right, but keeps him from dropping too far if he falls.

Because we were using a glass aquarium with a screen lid, we decided to add some tree branches to our aquarium and tape the lids with the chrysalises attached onto those branches. That worked well for us. We attached the lids at a spot on the branch that was the suggested 4 to 8 inches off the floor.

9 days after our caterpillars became chrysalises, they emerged as butterflies. Their metamorphosis was complete! A few days later, we brought the aquarium outside, sat it near some flowers, and released our two Painted Lady Butterflies into our yard.

Butterflies don't always fly away immediately. - Sometimes they linger, perhaps warming their wings in the sun a little more.

Neither of our butterflies flew away immediately. When they did fly away, one flew quickly out of sight. There is a vacant lot beside us, and he flew off in that direction, to enjoy the trees and flowers growing there I suppose. The other flew only a few short feet onto the ground. Here's a picture of him.

After drinking from a flower which I helped him find, he too flew off to enjoy the world. You can see him drinking nectar in the photo below.

A newly released Painted Lady Butterfly, enjoying some nectar.

A newly released Painted Lady Butterfly, enjoying some nectar.
A newly released Painted Lady Butterfly, enjoying some nectar.

Painted Lady Butterflies have eyespots on the backs of their wings.

Thistle Plant
Thistle Plant | Source

Thistles are one of the favorite plants of Painted Lady Caterpillars and Butterflies!

The row of four large eyespots followed by one smaller dot on the back of the Painted Lady's wings is one of the features that distinguishes them from closely related species, such as the American Painted Lady (which has only two larger eyespots on the backs of it's wings) and the West Coast Lady (which doesn't have any eyespots).

Insect Lore Live Butterfly Pavilion - 2 feet tall!

Insect Lore Butterfly Pavilion - Large Habitat Hatching Kit With Voucher For 10 Caterpillars
Insect Lore Butterfly Pavilion - Large Habitat Hatching Kit With Voucher For 10 Caterpillars

The 2-foot tall Butterfly Pavilion "pops-up" easily. Hang it from a string or set it on a table-top. The see-through mesh and zippered entry allow easy access for care and feeding. Includes habitat, mail-in coupon for 6-10 Painted Lady butterfly larvae with special food and complete instructions. Please be advised that there is an additional $5.00 required when redeeming your coupon for shipping and handling.


Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden - 1 Foot Tall

Insect Lore Butterfly Growing Kit - With Voucher to Redeem Caterpillars Later
Insect Lore Butterfly Growing Kit - With Voucher to Redeem Caterpillars Later

This kit comes with a coupon to mail in for 5 painted lady caterpillars. ($5 shipping). The habitat can be reused later, and can be easily collapsed between uses. Food for your caterpillars and complete instructions are included!


Have you (or your child) ever raised a butterfly from a caterpillar?

See results

Butterfly Books - on Amazon

Painted Ladies: Butterflies of North America (Millie & Cyndi's Pocket Nature Guides)
Painted Ladies: Butterflies of North America (Millie & Cyndi's Pocket Nature Guides)

This is a pocket sized guide to the butterflies of North America. Included are colorful watercolor illustrations of the butterflies. The host plants and caterpillars are also included for many species.

From Caterpillar to Butterfly  (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1)
From Caterpillar to Butterfly (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1)

This is a fabulous book on the life cycle of the butterfly! It's written for preschoolers and elementary aged kids, and includes colorful illustrations along with the story.

Painted Lady Butterflies (Watch It Grow)
Painted Lady Butterflies (Watch It Grow)

This book about the life cycle of Painted Lady Butterflies is available as either a hardback or a paperback. It's written for children and includes colorful illustrations.

A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guide)
A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guide)

Field guides such as this one and the one below (Kaufman Field Guide) are great for slipping into a day sack or backpack for adventures in the forest or meadow!

Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides)
Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides)

This is an excellent field guide for identifying and learning more about butterflies!


Some Photos We Took Of Our Butterflies - Click on any of the thumbnails pictures to enlarge it!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Painted Lady Butterfly, resting on a flower after being released in our back yard.A Painted Lady Butterfly a few hours after emerging from his chrysalis.A Painted Lady Butterfly holding on to the sides of the glass aquarium.A Painted Lady Butterfly through a magnifying glass.A Painted Lady Butterfly on a flower, several moments after being released.
A Painted Lady Butterfly, resting on a flower after being released in our back yard.
A Painted Lady Butterfly, resting on a flower after being released in our back yard.
A Painted Lady Butterfly a few hours after emerging from his chrysalis.
A Painted Lady Butterfly a few hours after emerging from his chrysalis.
A Painted Lady Butterfly holding on to the sides of the glass aquarium.
A Painted Lady Butterfly holding on to the sides of the glass aquarium.
A Painted Lady Butterfly through a magnifying glass.
A Painted Lady Butterfly through a magnifying glass.
A Painted Lady Butterfly on a flower, several moments after being released.
A Painted Lady Butterfly on a flower, several moments after being released.

Painted Lady Butterfly Migration - Did you know Painted Lady Butterflies migrate?

Actually, their migration is not as regular as that of the Monarch Butterfly. They don't migrate every year, and the size of their migration varies as well. One reason for their migration seems to be tied to heavy winter storms in the desert.

In this short video, you can watch many Painted Lady Butterflies fly by, all heading the same direction.

Classification of butterflies and moths

Kingdom: Animalia (Because they are animals.)

Phylum: Arthropoda (Because they are invertebrate animals and have jointed legs, an exoskeleton, and a segmented body. )

Class: Insecta (6 legs, 2 antennae, and a 3-part body)

Order: Lepidoptera (scaled wings)

Lepidos means "scales" and ptera means "wing" in Greek, so all the insects in the Lepidoptera order have scaled wings. The order Lepidoptera is huge! It consists of about 120,000 different species of butterflies and moths. In fact, Lepidoptera is the largest order of insects there is, except for the order of Coleoptera, (beetles) which has over 350,000 known species.

Can you tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly?

Clubbed antennae
Fuzzy or feathery antennae
Active during the day
Active at night
Rest with wings held closed
Rest with wings open and flat

I think the photo on the left is of a

See results

Are you ready for the answer?

Moth | Source

The one on the left was a butterfly!

Butterfly | Source

Hands-on learning activities about the Painted Lady Butterfly!

Earthsbirthday is a nice site full of hands-on learning activities related to Painted Lady Butterflies.

Their free butterfly activity kit contains information about everything from planting a butterfly garden to "inventing a butterfly" to building your butterfly house. There's even a caterpillar ruler for measuring your caterpillar every day!

© 2009 JanieceTobey


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    • joancol lm profile image

      joancol lm 

      6 years ago

      I've never raised a butterfly, but I know it needs patience to do it.

    • BigsteveC profile image


      6 years ago

      the kids did this in school where i teach - they'd come in every day to see the progress - pretty cool - some kids actually started crying when they were released

    • Paul Ward profile image


      6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Wonderful lens: Blessed with pleasure.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful! Your use of scientific background mingled with your personal account is very well done. My daughter is raising painted ladies for a project, and this is the best site we've seen. Thank you for sharing your time, talent, and thoughts.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, this is an awesome lens, I am not surprised it is an award winner. My husband and I are Monarch enthusiasts, we have milkweed plants in our flower garden and our Monarch caterpillars are our outdoor "free pet" entertainment for the summer. Gotta love those stripey fellows!

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 

      7 years ago

      What a wonderful lens! I adore butterflies. Blessed.

    • jaclinart lm profile image

      jaclinart lm 

      7 years ago

      This is a fabulous and very interesting lens. I would love to do something like this with my grandchildren.

    • CaterpillarArts1 profile image


      7 years ago

      The pictures of your Painted Lady's in your backyard are very pretty. I bet it was fun raising them!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Outstanding lens and beautiful to look at. Reminds me that we all need to stop for a moment in our hectic lives to smell the roses (and check out the butterflies).

    • CCGAL profile image


      7 years ago

      Very pleasant visit I've had this morning with your darling Painted Lady butterflys. I love how you've included so much background educational information and linked to such wonderful resources. This is a most delightful squidoo lens. Kudos to you!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      When my youngest daughter was in Kindergarten, her teacher let us take home a habitat of unhatched butterflies, since spring vacation came up before they hatched. We got to watch them hatch and it was amazing! We released them in Disney's Campground (where we spent our spring vacation) and I like to think that their offspring, are still there. Thanks to this beautiful lens, now know that they were called Painted Ladies. **Blessed**

    • thingz1 profile image


      7 years ago

      I had no idea butterflies need the sun to fly. Amazing!

    • psiloveyou1 profile image


      7 years ago

      LOVE your lens! What a fun project. My kids are older, but I bet they would enjoy it as well as the school aged kids. The photos are wonderful!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Butterflies' colours are amazing...

    • rachelscott profile image


      7 years ago

      I love butterflies, your lens remind me my childhood.

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 

      7 years ago

      What a beautiful lens. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I love butterflies so much, and this is a perfect introduction to raising some of my own.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank You! Finally an easy site to find answers to questions! I appreciate it very much! After hours of hunting other sites I found a place that my Niece can understand!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have been looking for this kind of stuff for a week or so thanks for all your help!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i loved all the different types of butterflys they showed

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is such a beautiful lens! Thank you for the time and effort that you put into making it so special!

      I have lots of favorite butterflies, although the ones that I grew up with some of my favorites. They had long iridescent patched on their black wings. The iridescence would appear orange or green or yellow, depending on how the light hit their wings.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      really like it

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome site! Nice work! We are in the kitchen watching our caterpillars form into chrysalis as we speak. We have raised blue swallowtail, but never the painted lady. We are surfing the web insearch of reasons why we are seeing caterpillar "heads" on the floor of the cup. It looks like they dropped their heads in the process.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      High Five! Beautiful butterfly pics! :)

    • kerilovesadeal profile image


      7 years ago

      I didn't know butterflies would "drink" an orange or apple. Learn something new every day. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I live where butterflies migrate through. Every once in a while hundreds, maybe thousands pass by. I've seem some that look a bit like this painted lady in my yard.

    • Loveboncyboutique profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, I didn't know butterfly could be so beautiful

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love this lens! It goes hand in hand with a lens I made a few weeks ago about how to attract butterflies into your garden. I never thought you could breed them, but I'll certainly have a look at that. Squidliked!

    • dariameister profile image


      7 years ago

      I can't believe I didn't know that they don't eat but only drink! V interesting, thank you! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Returning to congratulate you on receiving front page honors on this beauty!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Really interesting lens!! Wonderful photos too!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      really is amazing creature :)

      thank you for sharing :)

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 

      7 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Lovely lens! Very helpful info ~ and quite an adventure! B : )

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      awesome lens and really beautiful butterfly..

    • ferginarg lm profile image

      ferginarg lm 

      7 years ago

      Great information I'd love to do this with my young daughter, it's a great way to teach them respect for other living things.

    • PennyHowe profile image


      7 years ago

      Absolutely fabulous lens. Thanks for it all. I love the magic of butterflies!

      Awesome is all I can say.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      so pretty! i like butterflys they are neat creatures and there very pretty!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow a wonderful transformation, from an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly.

      Great lens!

    • Nanciajohnson profile image

      Nancy Johnson 

      7 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      I loved all the photos of the butterflies on this lens.

    • JanieceTobey profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @anonymous: Although I can't say for sure, my feeling is that this is just a matter of some caterpillars mature faster than others, just like people. I think he'll become a chrysalis when it's the right time for him....and I bet it will be by tomorrow, or at least by the end of the week.

      We've raised painted lady butterflies twice. This second time (our butterfly emerged from his chrysalis yesterday, as a matter of fact!), our caterpillar was a bit slower to become a chrysalis than the two we raised before. He hung out in the top of his container, almost getting into the J position - but not quite - for a few days before finally becoming a chrysalis. I know that's not exactly what yours is doing, but I think they are all unique and operate on their own timetable. Please DO let us know how yours does!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      @JanieceTobey: We have 2 in their chrysalis. They look similar but you can't see their legs or head, the one I'm concerned about still looks like he did when he was crawling around. My students say him uncurl himself today and then curl back up. Is it normal for them to just hang there for days and not molt?

    • JanieceTobey profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @anonymous: You might not be aware of a final molt. (I've never seen it take place. Perhaps they do that overnight.) It sounds to me as if your caterpillar is behaving perfectly normal for a caterpillar. Most likely by tomorrow, he'll be a chrysalis. (Study the photo here: to see what a chrysalis looks like. You won't be able to see the butterfly's wings inside the chrysalis until the butterfly is almost ready to emerge, but the outside of the chrysalis will look like this even near the beginning of this stage.) Then in about 7 to 11 or so days, he'll emerge as a butterfly. (That magic number is often day 9, but supposedly it can vary some due to the temperature of the house or school.)

      Feel free to write me back if you have additional questions!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm a teacher, I ordered painted lady caterpillars for our science unit. This is my first time having caterpillars. How long will they stay in the J shape before molting? Mine has been hanging from his button of silk for over a day with no change.


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love butterflies and this is a beautiful butterfly lens!

    • AlokaRuwanpathi profile image


      7 years ago

      Grreeeeeeeeeeeat lens!! Love it!!!

    • Rosaquid profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely lens. My children are grown, I'd have fun doing this myself.

    • cao2fine profile image


      7 years ago

      Very much enjoyed this lens! Thank you for sharing your experience! What a wonderful project to take on.

    • mel-kav profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting. I really enjoyed this lens. When my daughter was little, she had a catepillar. She lost interest in it as it was starting to turn into a chrysalis. But the whole process totally amazed me. I love butterflies! I also enjoy photographing them.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 

      7 years ago from Kansas

      Wonderful information on the Painted Lady Butterfly. Blessed.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 

      7 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Thank you for a wonderful lens! What a lot of work went into this very beautiful and well-organized lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! Congrats on raising your painted ladies. You have some beautiful photos here too.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Great lens for butterfly day.Beautiful photos.

      Yes I have raise Monarch Butterflies, I have made a lens on it. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful learning tool here...we use to get so many of these Painted Lady Butterflies at our Horse Ranch in Missouri.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      7 years ago

      A lot to learn from this lens. I like your pictures and colors


    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 

      7 years ago from Texas

      This is great article, and I really enjoyed it! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      7 years ago

      Happy Learn About Butterflies Day!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I once had a butterfly land on my lapel and stay with me during an entire shopping trip as if it were a brooch.. people thought it was until they saw it move :) This happened in Mexico City :) Blessed!

    • rainbowbutterfl1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful lens :) and the photos are well selected !

    • snazzify lm profile image

      Katie Harp 

      7 years ago

      blessed by a squid angel :) <3

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      That was so much fun and I learned things I didn't know before. It is always amazing to study the intricate designs of nature.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      nice one...........

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love butterflies! They are so much fun to photograph. Nice lens.

    • jolou profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful lens and photos. Very well done.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      7 years ago from USA

      What a wonderful study unit you have put together. I hope many teachers and educators get to view this site. A good resource. It deserves all the rewards and awards it can get.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Butterflies can be very difficult to photograph. Congratulations on taking these photos.

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 

      7 years ago

      What a lovely lens. I learned a lot here today about painted lady butterflies and enjoyed every moment.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love the pictures, some great macro shots!

    • curious0927 profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful lens, really inspiring! Thanks and Blessed!

    • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Love butterflies.

    • MelonyVaughan profile image


      7 years ago

      Love your lens! Thanks for sharing!

    • dahlia369 profile image


      7 years ago

      For a long time now, butterflies in my personal world represent blessings, reminding me of happiness and well-being and the colorful joy of life. Wonderful lens about cheerful and beautiful creatures! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is fantastic reading. I intend to bookmark and read again. Fascinating .....we have butterflies in the yard and now that I have learned that they only fly in the sun, it all makes sense as to why we only see them on a bright sunshiny day. Wonderful lens!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great close ups, I've read on Squidoo too about how some butterflies fly from south Canada all the the way to Mexico. Something that I wouldn't expect from this small of a creature ... *blessed* for this great article.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is just awesome! Loved the beautiful pictures and your experience with the butterflies!

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 

      7 years ago from Ohio

      Such an informative and well done lens. I like seeing butterflies of all sorts- even the cabbage sorts.

    • Edwardjames81 profile image


      7 years ago

      A great lens here - I have never really considered raising a butterfly.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful experience of raising a butterfly through your lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • Herman IV profile image

      Herman IV 

      7 years ago

      We've done this with our children. Absolutely enjoyed this lens! Thank you.

    • MGuberti profile image


      7 years ago

      The butterflies look gorgeous

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 

      7 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      What a beautiful lens. I don't raise butterflies, but I plant plenty of flowers and bushes that butterflies love, so they are always around my home. Terrific job! Blessed!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love butterflies and your pictures are wonderful, thanks for sharing your experience with raising painted lady butterflies, really interesting read.

    • wheresthekarma profile image


      7 years ago

      What an amazing experience it must have been. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    • RCGraphicsDesign profile image


      7 years ago

      I was working in the yard one Saturday morning. A monarch butterfly kept flying around my head. I held out my hand and he landed on it. I sat there looking at him for awhile and he stayed there. I went in the house and showed my wife. We were amazed. We both went back outside and then he flew away. An amazing experience. Loved your lens. Thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I totally enjoyed this Painted Lady Butterfly lens! And I was not a bit surprised to learn that the butterflies flight is powerd by sol! Blessing your butterflies with a bit o' sunshine!

    • Dimplefree profile image


      7 years ago

      amazing stuff, really good lens.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful. Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Returning to witness this amazing miracle once again, delightful!

    • Hedremp profile image

      Sandra Wilson 

      7 years ago from Wilson Education Resource Centre

      Awesome lens, so much information! I enjoyed raising my monarchs and have also been able to capture some great shots of the Painted Lady!

    • JohnMichael2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Hilton Head Island, SC is a way station for migrating butterflies... it's one of my favorite places to spend a week in the Autumn

    • jadehorseshoe profile image


      7 years ago

      Return Visitor. VERY Nice Lens!

    • kathysart profile image


      7 years ago

      BEAUTIFUL lens.. so thoughtful and full of info. THUMBS UP!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice lens. Enjoyed it.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      8 years ago from New Zealand


    • mariaamoroso profile image


      8 years ago from Sweden

      I love to read about this. We tought our children things like this also. But we never raised the caterpillars like yours. We just kept all the nettles growing so they had food =D

    • bechand profile image


      8 years ago

      never did it - but it is way cool ... maybe someday

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      We also raised our butterflies, we got 6. Two of which were girls and we kept them long enough to lay their eggs! It was amazing, my 4 and 6 year old girls were amazed watching them every day!

    • GreenfireWiseWo profile image


      8 years ago

      Great info - we did this one year - it was wonderful. Thank you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice pictures! Thanks for sharing your information on raising painted lady butterflies

    • efriedman profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent photos and explanation of raising butterflies. We once had the excitement of watching a Painted Lady Butterfly migration across our backyard and into the canyon beyond - spectacular. Glad you included the video. Thanks

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is great. I never knew that raising a butterfly is something that am person can do. As a beginner squid I can see how much work went into this lens. Thanks for the post


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