Curious about Caterpillars
After reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to his stuffed animal friends, Mark has a few questions about how caterpillars turn from a caterpillar into a butterfly. Extension Educator Jody answers his questions and shares a few neat ideas to learn about the butterfly life cycle.
Butterfly Life Cycle: https://go.unl.edu/4hbutterflyactivities
Drawing with Chalk: https://pin.it/5yZHoIY
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[00:00:10.518]Hi friends, my name is Mark, it's a beautiful day.
[00:00:15.350]Me and Cookie are reading
[00:00:17.666]"The Very Hungry Caterpillar".
[00:00:20.840]We have some questions.
[00:00:22.180]Can someone please help us?
[00:00:24.830]Hi Mark, my name is Jody and I'm an entomologist
[00:00:27.990]and I'd be happy to answer some of your questions.
[00:00:30.960]I'd like to hear what you're curious about.
[00:00:34.640]Here are my questions.
[00:00:36.892]First, how does a caterpillar get in the cocoon?
[00:00:42.840]Do you know what metamorphosis is?
[00:00:45.730]Well, it means change or transformation.
[00:00:49.090]And when an insect grows, from an egg into an adult,
[00:00:53.750]they're undergoing metamorphosis.
[00:00:58.780]Caterpillars undergo complete metamorphosis
[00:01:02.160]and we remember that because they go in
[00:01:05.200]as one type of creature like the caterpillar
[00:01:08.770]and then they come out as a completely different organism,
[00:01:12.320]like a butterfly or a moth.
[00:01:15.170]Just like your book, a caterpillar emerges from the egg
[00:01:19.120]and it starts eating and growing and eating and growing
[00:01:23.330]and eating and growing.
[00:01:24.840]And in order for insects to grow,
[00:01:26.860]they have to shed their skin or their exoskeleton.
[00:01:31.100]And when it's done eating, it will move away
[00:01:33.910]from the plant that it's feeding on
[00:01:35.500]and it will find a protective location
[00:01:37.470]and away from predators.
[00:01:38.770]Maybe it will be under a twig or a stick or a leaf,
[00:01:41.770]or under bark or even under the shelter
[00:01:44.630]of part of your house, like the one here.
[00:01:47.770]This monarch is getting ready to form it's pupa.
[00:01:51.200]If we waited a few hours,
[00:01:52.870]this is what the monarch caterpillar would look like
[00:01:57.000]when it's completely in it's pupa.
[00:01:59.640]It's a very nice green little pod
[00:02:01.580]that it will stay in for about two weeks.
[00:02:06.357]Second, how does a caterpillar get out of the cocoon?
[00:02:13.040]So after a while with all the changes
[00:02:15.570]that are going on inside the pupa,
[00:02:17.750]the caterpillar will be ready to emerge as an adult.
[00:02:21.170]The chrysalis or cocoon changes,
[00:02:23.770]so that the insect can easily break out
[00:02:26.710]or the butterfly or moth may release a liquid from it's body
[00:02:30.210]to help soften up the pupa
[00:02:32.620]so it can break through the walls.
[00:02:34.800]And after the butterfly emerges,
[00:02:36.930]it needs to rest and pump fluid through it's body
[00:02:39.730]so it can spread it's wings and prepare to fly away.
[00:02:45.770]And last, how does a caterpillar become a butterfly?
[00:02:52.620]So how does a caterpillar become a butterfly?
[00:02:55.470]Another great question, that's very complicated
[00:02:58.440]because there's a lot going on inside that pupal case.
[00:03:02.260]During the time that the caterpillar is in that pupa,
[00:03:05.540]it can be a matter of days, a matter of weeks
[00:03:08.690]and in some cases, that caterpillar can be in there,
[00:03:11.990]transforming into a butterfly or moth for months,
[00:03:17.860]maybe sometimes even over the winter.
[00:03:19.990]They stay in there protected, not eating,
[00:03:22.520]but transforming into something new.
[00:03:24.720]What happens is their body actually break down
[00:03:28.300]and recycles into something brand new.
[00:03:31.110]And so where a caterpillar went in,
[00:03:33.790]out comes this butterfly.
[00:03:36.270]This butterfly will have six legs,
[00:03:38.680]it will have four wings with really beautiful scales
[00:03:42.370]or it will be a moth that may be a variety of colors.
[00:03:46.266]It'll have antennae and it will
[00:03:49.360]be able to fly after a little while.
[00:03:52.350]But the really cool thing is
[00:03:54.300]that it goes in as a caterpillar with chewing mouth parts
[00:03:57.410]and it comes out with a butterfly with a proboscis,
[00:04:00.520]which is like a straw.
[00:04:01.780]And they use that straw-like mouth part
[00:04:04.340]to suck up nectar out of flowers.
[00:04:06.570]How cool is that?
[00:04:07.690]I hope this spring you get to see some butterflies
[00:04:11.020]and I hope today you're having a beautiful day.
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