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News in Youth Services

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Step by step, inch by inch

One day I will be a Monarch!
Step by step, inch by inch, slowly I turn, and POOF!  The caterpillars turn into butterflies!  Well, not exactly that fast, but still, caterpillars develop pretty darn quickly.  And now, you can watch it all happen here at the Roselle Public Library!

We have a few beautiful, fat, plump, squirmy monarch caterpillars here on display up in the Youth Services Department.  Now, I usually don't do the whole crawly, squirmy, bug thing, but caterpillars are the exception (that and lightning bugs - who could hate on bugs with glowing butts?)  Caterpillars are way cool, with their soft little bodies that grow crazy fast, and watch out, I am about to amaze you with some awesome monarch caterpillar facts.  Are you ready?  I'll wait...get good and comfy....okay, here we go.

Yum, yum...a perfect diet of milkweed!
One female monarch can lay up to 400 eggs!!!  Holy smokes, that's a lot of eggs.  Usually, the eggs are deposited on the underside of milkweed leaves (a charming flowering plant that is probably already in your backyard.)  Luckily, one of our fabulous librarians happened to notice such eggs and baby caterpillars on her backyard milkweed, and brought them in to share the amazing experience with everyone! 

Anyway, caterpillars live on plant leaves and flowers for about two weeks, and then develop into those cute as a button, chub monster caterpillars that are about 5 cm long.  They often shed their skin or molt up to four times while they're growing.  Now while they are eating away all that milkweed, they are actually getting ready to protect themselves in the future.  You see, the monarch butterfly is poisonous to other critters because it eats all the toxins in the milkweed plant.  These chemicals stay in their system permanently.  Pretty nifty defense if you ask me.
Oh, favorite...num, num, num

Right now, our caterpillars are plumping up.  Eating boatloads of milkweed a day and getting ready for their next phase of life.  Come on in and see them on display, and then grab some books about caterpillars and learn even more awesomely cool facts about them.  And remember, any reading you do counts towards your minutes for the Summer Reading Program - Fizz, Boom, Read - that ends in just over a week on July 31st. 

Check back here for more updates!  We will be posting when the caterpillars move on to different stages.

Butterfly non fiction books
Butterfly picture books

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