The Very Busy Caterpillar


Last week, one of our students discovered a big, green caterpillar who was walking along the sidewalk that leads to our parking lot. We brought the plump little guy into the classroom so that the other children could observe him as well. After placing him in a clear container, we noticed that he had positioned himself near one of the top corners of the container and had started making long strands of silk from one side of the container to the other. Some students thought that perhaps he was growing more hair, while others knew right away that he was making a cocoon.

With the help of our fabulous science teacher, Ms. Capezzuti, we learned that our new friend was a Polyphemus caterpillar and would eventually turn into a moth. We also learned that Polyphemus caterpillars are silk caterpillars and can easily be reared indoors, so we decided to let our him finish making his cocoon in our container and release him after his metamorphosis. According to our research, he should emerge from his cocoon in about a week. In the meantime, we observed him while he finished making his cocoon and have been noticing what he looks like now that he is in his pupal case. We are looking forward to seeing him emerge from his cocoon, stretch and dry his wings, and then release him back into the wild! Yay, science!


3 thoughts on “The Very Busy Caterpillar

  1. What a wonderful opportunity for science learning to occur. I look forward to seeing a photo of the moth when it has emerged. I wonder why the caterpillar was on the path. Had it fallen from a tree? Do you know what it’s food source is? I used to have a live butterfly kit in my year one classroom. We would get some eggs and just hatched caterpillars, as well as their food plants. We would watch them grow, pupate and emerge. Then we would release them. It was an amazing experience.

    1. Those are good questions! There are many trees near the path, so it could have fallen or was on its way to a new tree. We’re pretty sure it eats maple and oak trees which we do have on our campus.
      We will definitely put up some pictures of the moth once it emerges provided everything goes as planned!

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