The most captivating thing about the butterfly may be the complete metamorphosis that it undergoes during its life cycle. This metamorphosis is taught in elementary classrooms everywhere and is often used in analogies to the transformation that takes place in the life of a child of God.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Butterflies begin life are eggs that the adult butterfly will lay on a host plant. These host plants will become the caterpillar’s food upon hatching. In the case of the Monarch butterflies that call the Ranch home, milkweed is the only plant suitable for hosting the Monarch eggs and caterpillars. When the caterpillar hatches from the egg, it will eat and grow. During this stage it will shed its skin many time. Eventually the caterpillar will suspend itself by silken threads and create a chrysalis. Different butterfly species remain in this chrysalis for different lengths of time, but what emerges from the chrysalis is a brightly colored flying insect.
Butterflies are another example of life that defies evolution. The Monarch butterfly not only undergoes the biological miracle of metamorphosis, but they migrate continental distances over multiple generations with a pre-programmed knowledge of where to return year after year. For more information about this incredible feat of navigation visit ICR Butterflies.
With butterfly populations declining there is an increasing emphasis on establishing native plants to attract these beautiful insects. Milkweed has been planted here at the Ranch to provide the food needed by the Monarch caterpillar. Other native species important to the Monarch and other butterflies include clover, dill, heliotrope, and purple coneflower.