Catching caterpillars

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 3, 2016

Aspects of nature are infinitely interesting.

How one animal can undergo so many changes through the course of their short life is an intriguing fact.

Children have their first exposure to this fact of life typically when they learn about the developmental phases of the butterfly. 

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What starts out as a small egg, eventually grows into a very colorful insect that captures the imagination of not just children but adults as well. 

I can recall capturing the caterpillars of Monarch butterflies in a field next to our home in California. 

The field was full of plants that the caterpillars fed on, before entering their next phase of development, the chrysalis. 

At times we would pluck the leaves the chrysalis was attached to, take it home and put it in a jar ever so carefully to observe the insect move into its final stage in life. 

Typically we would check the jar every day until we found a butterfly had replaced the strange looking figure attached to the leaf. We would promptly release the creature into the wild of the concrete jungle in which we lived. 

As common as Monarch butterflies are in California, they are not so common here in Pearl River County. 

Every now and then when I do see one or two, I think back to the time when my brother and I would trek to that empty lot that grew the plants they loved so much to witness the grand changes in life that nature produces.

Today the Crosby Arboretum is holding a program that will feature the life cycles of these very interesting insects. 

It should be a great time for adults and children, and also give visitors a reason to tour the grounds afterwards.