Essay / Avant-Garde

Life of the Butterfly

Butterfly Lifecycle 1 egg laying O Butterfly, you fling yourself into the air with reckless abandon, smiling as you climb into the sky. But what’s this? A single egg drops from the mother butterfly as she flies? In reality, butterflies tend to lay between a hundred and two hundred eggs. We know this not from observation but from reliable authorities. It looks like a tiny number nine, echoing one of the markings on her wing.

Butterfly Lifecycle 2 caterpillar And here is the caterpillar, crawling away from a mass of goop. It’s not what you think, just like the thing dropping from the butterfly wasn’t what you were thinking. Clean up your act if you want to enjoy these drawings (poop jokes will be plentiful later in the boy’s development, no doubt). It’s an icky mass of caterpillar food, which you can order from any of the stores that sell baby caterpillars.

What’s that? Never bought a baby caterpillar? Never ordered five caterpillars in the mail and watched them grow ten times their original size right before your eyes? Never had caterpillars turn into butterflies in the middle of your kitchen table? Well, what are you waiting for?

Butterfly Lifecycle 3 centipede This is an ant dragging a leaf, and over there is a centipede. Did you know that caterpillars turn into centipedes? No? That’s because it’s not true. Sometimes a guy just wants to draw a centipede on the same page as the caterpillar, oKAY? Does it have to be a big deal? Does everything have to be all caterpillars all the time in this house? And an ant dragging a leaf, how cool is that? The mass of goop behind the centipede? I know what you’re thinking. Again, no.

Butterfly Lifecycle 4 twig The twig! Great source of stability, withstander of wind and weather, branch of dependence, we hang on you. The three pod-shapes on this twig are:

a. a leaf
b. a closed chrysalis that looks like a leaf
c. an opened chrysalis from which a butterfly has emerged
d. one of each

If you said d, give yourself a special treat. But hurry back, because you don’t want to miss the next step in the butterfly’s life cycle.

Butterfly Lifecycle 5 maturity The full-grown butterfly may flit about decoratively later, but right now there’s work to be done. What kind of work? OBVIOUSLY, it’s time to grab a sword and go fight that mosquito! You’ve got to show those mosquitoes where the boundaries are, and let them know who’s boss. These mosquitoes don’t fend themselves off! And by the way, just because I have beautiful multi-colored wings and delicate tiny legs doesn’t mean you can come around here buzzin’ with your high-pitched whiny wings. I’m packin’ a sword, man. You know how the old Bob Lind song goes: “Despite your screams, with blasts of thunder, I am the bright abusive butterfly of smackdown.”

Butterfly Lifecycle And here is the whole life-cycle of the butterfly, from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to mighty warrior butterfly. Let’s just take moment to celebrate the circle of life. And butterflies. Armed to the teeth.

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