Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

National Moth Week was July 23-31, 2022!

Moths are amazing creatures. Take photographs and share your moth sightings with us to document the moths where you live. Learn more.

How can I raise a caterpillar to the adult stage?

Raising a caterpillar through the chrysalis or pupa to the adult moth or butterfly is an excellent lesson about insect metamorphosis. All you need is a caterpillar, some of its favored food, and a suitable container. You can find caterpillars on most plants during the spring and early summer. Put the caterpillar and a few fresh leaves in a wide mouth jar or plastic shoebox. Cover the jar mouth with netting or a piece of nylon. Every day change the leaves and provide dry paper towels to help prevent mold. You can put in pencil-size twigs upon which the caterpillar can attach its chrysalis or silken cocoon (with the pupa inside). The insect will hatch in 10-14 days, if it does not overwinter. Before releasing it you can photograph your prize. Don't be disappointed if small wasps or flies--natural parasites--hatch out instead. These insects keep the butterfly and moth populations under natural control.

For additional information, visit the excellent Raising Butterflies site.