From Caterpillar to Chrysalis

Enrichment Therapies

May 15, 2017

By Haley Hall, B.A. LEAP Instructor & Learning Specialist

Throughout the past two weeks or so we have had 10 little class pets in LEAP. We’re studying butterflies and have been observing our Painted Lady caterpillars daily. We had 2 cups with 5 caterpillars per cup, and enough food in the bottom of the cups to last them until it was time to turn into the chrysalides. One caterpillar didn’t survive the journey to our classroom, which left us with 9 busy caterpillars. They started out small, about 1.5 cm long. Students wrote daily observations in their Butterfly journals, as shown in the image below. One student wrote, “They are mostly black and they are crawling and feeding and they’re all over and they have grown hair.”

Over the next 9 days, we observed our caterpillars and watched them grow. As their bodies grow, they shed their skin 4-5 times. We noticed they love to eat, spin silk, and move around! Each day they became noticeably larger, and on day 9 we noticed a couple of them started to hang from the top of the cup in a J shape. This is a sure sign that they will be shedding their last layer of skin to form their chrysalis at any time. We set up a time-lapse video to capture the transformation from caterpillar to chrysalis. Check out the video below to see it happen! Keep an eye on the caterpillar hanging on the left side of the cup!

After all, caterpillars changed into chrysalides, we let them harden for 3 days. Then, we removed the lids from the cups and moved them into our butterfly net so they can hatch safely. We noticed one caterpillar made its chrysalis on the bottom of the cup, instead of hanging from the top. We aren’t sure why this happened, but we’re curious to see how it hatches. Stay tuned for my next blog post about how the butterflies emerged from their chrysalides, and what it was like when we released them!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131



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