Munch-a-Bunch of Milkweed …crunch…munch…yum-yum-milkweed…
The caterpillar’s “skin” or cuticle is like a shell – it does not grow. As the caterpillar body grows bigger and bigger, it outgrows its skin and needs to SHED it. The caterpillar squeeeeezes, pushes and tugs as it wiggles out of its tight old skin.
Then it rubs off its FACE MASK. Even the face mask has become too small. The most amazing part is when the caterpillar turns around and EATS its own skin. Just like the eggshell that it ate for breakfast, the old skin is filled with vitamins to help our caterpillar grow big and strong. Kids love to collect the skins and face masks as the caterpillars grows. You can easily tape them onto a piece paper for your science collection. Show all your friends!
Do you shed your skin? You might say, “Of course not. I’m NOT a caterpillar, I’m a human being,” – but think again. Humans DO shed their skin every day as dry flaky skin sheds or peels off and new skin cells grow. Think of how your skin peels after a sunburn. Other creatures shed their skin, too! Can you think of a creature that outgrows their entire skin and molts? Take a look at this SNAKESKIN! WOW…that’s shedding!
Can you make a Silk Button? Of course not … you’re a human being, NOT a caterpillar! But other insects use strands of silk to build their webs and cocoons.
Silkworms spins nets of silk for laying their eggs and making their strong silk cocoons. Silkworm cocoons are used to make the luxurious silk clothing we wear.
Woolly bear moth caterpillars weave a unique cocoon by pulling out their own body hairs and weaving them into the cocoon.
Spiders send out a dragline to move quickly from one place to another and build majestic webs.
After the fifth and final skin shed, the monarch goes into its next stage of life. Through an amazing metamorphosis – a total body CHANGE – the caterpillar transforms into a beautiful green chrysalis.