NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

From larvae to butterflies
Students study life cycles at Charles Tetcho School

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 23, 2013

A lesson on life cycles has given students at Charles Tetcho School an up-close look at how butterflies are formed.

NNSL photo/graphic

Isaiah Kotchea prepares to move a butterfly larvae from the large communal container to an individual container where it later created a chrysalis. - photo courtesy of David Madden

Teachers Nancy and David Madden ordered 30 painted lady butterfly larvae for the 20 students at the school to care for and learn from. It's a great way for students to study life cycles and to learn more about spring insects, said Nancy.

The larvae arrived in Trout Lake by mail on April 25. The students helped move the larvae from the communal container to smaller individual plastic containers. Every student got one or two larvae to call their own.

The students got involved in the project and would check the containers every morning when they came to school to see what their larvae and the other ones were doing.

The first chrysalis appeared hanging from the top of one of the container lids on April 27. Over the next few days the other larvae also created chrysalises.

All of the lids with the attached chrysalises were transferred to a covered aquarium where the lids were balanced on strings until the butterflies emerged. The first butterfly broke out of its chrysalis on May 5. Students were in the classroom to see some of the butterflies arrive.

"It looked cool," said Mckayla Thwaites, 9, about the butterflies emerging.

"The wings were little and then they grew really big."

Thwaites named her larvae Beauty.

"They wiggle themselves to go into the cocoons," she said.

After they emerged, slices of watermelon and oranges and water sweetened with honey was left in the aquarium for the butterflies to eat.

For Aaron Jumbo, 11, this project was the first time he'd seen a larvae turn into a butterfly.

Jumbo said his larvae, named Cookies, turned into a chrysalis quickly. A week or so later, it became a butterfly.

Butterflies aren't the first life cycle Trout Lake students have studied. Last year, the students watched frog eggs turn into tadpoles and then start to grow their back legs before the school year ended and they had to be released.

Like the tadpoles, the butterflies were also released. The first of the butterflies were let go into the community on May 6 after they really began to flutter their wings.

The whole process from larvae to butterfly was very interesting to watch, said David Madden.

"It's one of the wonders of natures for sure," he said.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.