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On the International Space Station all three caterpillars pupated to form chrysalises on November 24, 2009. Our caterpillars on earth pupated on November 27-28th   On December 3rd two of the monarchs in space emerged. The last emerged on December 4th. Our monarchs in Deerfield took their time, and slowly emerged beginning on December 8th, then December 12th, and then the last one emerged on December 16th. One of the caterpillars emerged during the weekend and fell. He could not pump and dry his wings, so he was unable to fly. We call him Crumples. It was difficult to keep the temperature in the classroom at 70 degrees, and we figure that this instability in the temperature was one of the reasons that our butterflies took longer to pupate and emerge. The butterflies did not take to the Gatorade nectar. We created a mixture of honey and warm water.  The butterflies loved the honey nectar, and we were able to see them drinking the nectar from a soaked cotton ball. I took the butterflies’ home during the winter vacation, and my cats Zelda and Meow Meow are enjoying watching all three butterflies. The monarchs in space were able to pupate, emerge and expand their wings in space. The following note is from  http://www.monarchwatch.org/space/.

11 Dec 2009 11:44pm UTC We expected the monarchs in space adult lifespan to be approximately one week, versus the typical 2-4 weeks in the spring and summer - and this is precisely what has been observed. The three monarchs successfully emerged as adult butterflies on December 3rd & 4th and as of today all have expired. Failure to find and/or use the nectar feeder is likely a major contributing factor, but is only speculation until we get a chance to review all of the video.


Overall, the monarchs in space exceeded our expectations in regards to the challenges introduced by a microgravity environment. Well done!


Our monarchs here on earth are still alive (December 29, 2009), even Crumples. They like to hang from the top of their bigger tank, and hang on the window side of the tank. The oldest butterfly has now been alive for 21 days, I guess they like it here in Deerfield. 

  Hurt no living thing:

Ladybird, nor butterfly,

Nor moth with dusty wing,

Nor cricket chirping cheerily,

Nor grasshopper so light of leap,

Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,

Nor harmless worms that creep.

  by  Christina Rossetti


Article posted December 28, 2009 at 07:01 PM • comment • Reads 195 • Return to Blog List
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