Butterflies demonstrate many important principles and concepts of biology, including life cycles, food chains, animal behavior, and structure and function. The painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui), commonly found throughout North America, is widely used in science classes. Painted lady larvae pupate and emerge as adult butterflies in about 30 days, which makes this organism an excellent choice to study metamorphosis. Painted ladies have four main life cycle stages: egg, larval, pupal (chrysalis), and adult.
The activities in this book provide an opportunity to integrate the study of butterflies into your curriculum. Students will observe the painted lady butterfly as it grows from larva to pupa to adult. Students will make measurements, record changes in development, and learn the anatomy of the painted lady as they complete these fun and educational learning activities.