Last week, space shuttle Endeavor lifted off in a brilliant display of light against the dark, night sky.
While Endeavor has returned to the the space station, carrying Mission STS-130 specialists who will retrieve the bodies of the Monarchs in Space and bring them home to planet earth, 5 remaining butterflies are still enjoying the company of our kindergartners and nectaring on Gatorade-soaked pompoms.
These remaining 5 butterflies are remarkably old but are still feeding and crawling around in the terrarium. The butterflies have been feeding only on the trays at the bottom of the terrarium so we've removed the one hanging from the ceiling. They have been showing this preference for more than two months and have learned how to find the feeding trays independently.
Their wings are quite tattered and faded now. Though still recognizable as Monarchs, their wingspan is remarkably changed due to the tattered, broken wings. One butterfly in particular still feeds normally but has a diminished wingspan rivaling that of the cabbage white butterfly.
From the day the butterflies emerged from the chrysalis (12/12/09), the butterflies have lived 65 days as winged creatures. If you count the total amount of time these delicate insects have been alive and include the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly stages, they have been living for 95+ days.
I am incredulous over their longevity!