The Painted Lady butterflies left home Sunday morning. “Home” in this case being a collapsible cylinder of mesh, with a floor of plastic and a cap of clear plastic up top. A butterfly breeder.
We gave it to the Hellspawn for Christmas and mailed the order for the caterpillars sometime in January. Several weeks ago the caterpillars arrived in a plastic cup with tiny airholes. It was pre-loaded with nasty looking caterpillar food. The caterpillars must have liked it just fine, because after a few weeks they climbed to the top of the cup and turned into dangling chrysalides. We gently removed the cap, gingerly pushed a couple of paper clips through the airholes, and carefully mounted the cap on the side of the breeder.
A few days ago, the butterflies started popping out of their sheaths and flexing their wings. We plied them with orange slices and roses drizzled with sugar water, but it was clear we couldn’t keep them too long. So, Sunday morning we set the breeder in the backyard, unzipped the top and waited for the butterflies to emerge.
Here’s the first one to bid aideu, pausing on one of the laurels before setting off to make its way in the world.