Caterpillars Don’t Become Butterflies!

Mitch Teemley

10298900_10203759279603307_7085417779304645126_nDid you know that caterpillars are not “transformed” into butterflies? In metamorphosis (the name of the process), a caterpillar is liquefied—nothing remains of its old nature. Only after the creature’s death can an entirely new creation, a butterfly, emerge!

But most people’s image of the process is more like Eric Carle’s classic children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, in which the little caterpillar “makes a cocoon around himself the-very-hungry-caterpillar-480x270and goes to sleep, only to wake up a few weeks later wonderfully transformed into a butterfly!” (amazon.com)

The Very Dead Caterpillar would probably have sold fewer copies. But it would have been more accurate.

When I was a kid, I used to love going to La Mirada Creek and catching those pudgy little pre-frogs we called pollywogs (you may have called them tadpoles–I forgive you). AWAM072505_40I would bring them home and dump them into a tub, and…

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