Born to Fly
The transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is one of the most exquisite in the natural world. The caterpillars have to endure the dangers of others in their environment until they can create a cocoon to be born again as a butterfly with wings to fly away and migrate to a new ecosystem. There are several different types of caterpillars within creation, some are poisonous while others are harmless. These creatures live only a brief period of time as a butterfly. However, their species is a sign or symbol of immortality or an immortal soul. The unique process of the metamorphosis is astonishing to witness as these caterpillar critters become airborne beauties. Now that we use timelapse cameras, we can capture this amazing aspect of nature on video.
Monarch Butterfly lifecycle:
- Egg: 4-6 days
- Larva (caterpillar): 2-3 weeks
- Pupa: (chrysalis): 5-15 days
- Adult (butterfly): 1-3 months
Butterflies are represented in Greek and Roman mythology, there is also evidence being immortalized on Egyptian gravesites. Chinese mysticism describes them as a perfect example of eternal life. Dragonflies are also considered to be a sign of immortality. The butterfly specifically portrays the symbology of the soul and eternal life. The physical death of the caterpillar body resurrects with life and flies away as a new creature, now with wings.
There are about 17,500 species of butterflies known in the world, with approximately 750 of them are in the United States. Butterflies are classified as insects in the Macrolepidoptera Clade Rhopalocera from the order of the Lepidoptera, including moths. The Monarch migration is one of the most intriguing natural events, some may say it is nature's way of showing us a phenomenon that can portray beauty in its most pure form - through the abstract symmetry of their wings as they fly across the nation. This specific butterfly has a unique life cycle, the monarch likes to use the same trees every year, some of the organizations, government agencies, and individuals are working together to help preserve these sacred areas for the butterflies and their habitats.
The great migrations in September and October are due to the drop in temperature, weather plays a vital role in the hibernation process of the monarch butterflies. Monarch butterflies are the only insect in the whole world that travels over 2,500 miles on average every winter. All butterflies eventually go into a dormant state, Monarchs are the only North American species capable of hibernating through the winter. If the butterfly positions their wings directly in the sunlight while shivering and pumping their wings helps the butterfly get off the ground on a cold day. Sometimes this causes certain butterflies to attempt hibernation through the winter helping them to prolong their Lifespan by twice the capacity. Their innate instincts guide them to where they can create a specific type of a metabolic state, this is what makes them such an intriguing creature that can be found in the heart of nature. The flight pattern year by year and how the weather effects affect the butterflies journey to their next destination, from North America to South America, California to North Carolina and down to Mexico.
Why are butterflies so important?
Butterflies are a very important part of the food chain - both predators and prey. Adult butterflies and caterpillars are an important source of food for other animals such as bats and birds. Along with nectar, butterflies eat a variety of plants. So next time you see larvae munching on leaves, or see them fluttering around your yard, remember that these little flying creatures are much more than just mere insects - they are tiny miracles of nature.