Butterfly Farming IS AMAZING – (Full Life Cycle) – Smarter Every Day 96

October 3, 2019

Hey it’s me Destin, welcome back to Smarter Every Day. I did a video and I put Mr John the butterly farmer in it and you had a bunch of questions about butterfly farming, so we’re doing a video about butterfly farming, is that OK with you?
– That’s good with me.
– So, I’m gonna tell you what this paper is at the end of the video but this is pretty important for my family, but for now, let’s go learn about how butterflies are made.. Or how they.. yeah.
– Are farmed. – Yeah. Let’s do that. OK. First step in the lifecycle of a butterfly is… – Butterfly eggs.
– Alright. Where do we go?
– Let’s go see if we can find some in our flight house.
– Alright John so you have a huge butterfly house here. How do you know where the caterpillars are gonna be?
– I bring in a certain host plant. I know that the Spicebush Swallowtail will only lay eggs on a few plants, and one of them is the sassafras tree.
– So they have favourite plants? – Yep, called their host plant.
– But look at, I mean all these plants right here have flowers and stuff.
– They will not lay an egg on anything but this. – Man that’s amazing! So you put one little sapling in here, and you get everything you need?
– Yep. And when this one has what I want on it, I just take this pot out and I bring another one in.
– Oh wait. What’s happenening here? – She’s about to lay an egg.
– No way. So she’s laying an egg on the bottom side? – Yep.
– So can we see that egg that she just laid?
– That and probably several others. – So she just laid that egg.
– She laid one of these two right here.
– Thats.. And I caught it on film.
– Here she comes again. – No way. Come on girl. – Notice she comes up to the plant downwind. – Bam. I got it that time. She did not lay. Is it normal? I just don’t know what I’m looking [chortle] messed that up. – I should probably listen to the butterfly farmer. OK and I assume at this point they hatch right? – Yes that’s right. Next step they’ll be hatching. In fact let’s go over next door. – Man those are little.
– These guys are actually.. this is not their smallest. They’re probably already in their second instar. – Second what?
– Instar.
– Insteer?
– Or basically step. The process between them moulting. Most lepidoptera moult between 4 and 5 times. – Turn around. I think there’s a caterpillar on your butt. [laughs] – Wait there is.
– You said the word you.. we can’t say. – Oh the B-word? I’m sorry. Go catch more butterflies. I’m sorry I won’t say that again.
– So yeah this is sassafras tree with the sleeve on it, and then the caterpillar..
– Oh man. So he looks like he’s got a huge head but he doesn’t does he.
– Right, yeah his actual head is right down there on the very end.
– Is he supposed to look like a snake?
– Yeah exactly. Which no bird likes. His first 6 legs there are actually his permanent legs which are his only true legs.
– So what you’re saying is those legs will make it through metamorphosis? – Right. As an insect he only really has 6 legs. So lets also see if we can catch a caterpillar as it switch into its pupa. – What do you mean, switching to its pupa?
– The caterpillar will actually split its skin, the same way it does a moult, and actually come out of the caterpillar as a pupa.
– Really? It doesn’t build one?
– No. That’s actually a common misconception.
– Are you telling me a caterpillar just sits in one spot and turns into a pupa? – I can tell you whatever you want?
– Show.. show me!
[ laugh] – If you look down there should be a silk.. basically a tether line that he has just running right across his back.
– Oh I see it.
– Their silk is quite a bit like spider silk. It’s extremely strong for its size.
– Hey what am I seeing? There’s something moving inside the skin. – You know I think you’re actually about to get to watch him split… split and turn into a pupa.
– What? – Mm-hm, this should be good. The caterpillar skin is splitting, and the pupa is actually going to wriggle right out of the caterpillar skin. – I cannot believe we’re catching this. [music] So the only thing holding him to the net is that one little silk thread that you showed me earlier. – Yep, that one little security line.
– What happens if it breaks?
– It doesn’t. [laugh]
– So he’s done with his skin right?
– Yep. He actually.. he jumped off, reattached and now he’s gonna wriggle around until that skin drops down below him. You see there he just ejected.. he got loose and now he’s gonna wiggle around a little bit more and then he’s gonna calm down. If you tried to pull on the pupa it would cut right through him instead of breaking.
– The silk thread would cut the pupa?
– Yep. The pupa would break before the thread would. Down here he’s just shed, that’s the caterpillar skin. – This is totally backwards from what I thought. I thought that… I thought that the caterpillar made this pupa and then crawled inside and then turned into a butterfly but you’re telling me he just sits there and grunts and turns into a pupa.
– That’s right. After he’s finished there, he’s gonna start hardening. He will lighten up to a nice light whitish background because he’s on a white background. So he’ll end up with a colour similar to this guy right here.
– So you’re saying that they change colours based on where the pupa..
– Based on the background of where the pupa spins its cocoon.
– So that means, think about that. That means that this, when he was a caterpillar he had to look at the colour he was on and remember it and then somehow I don’t know how…
– I don’t think anybody does.
– Somehow he figures out what colour he needs to be. – Like a chameleon, he matches the best he can to that background colour. – So can you show us some different coloured ones?
– Absolutely. Usually get anywhere from about 40-60 out of a sleeve, and most of these guys here will actually be going to the bronx zoo.
– Really? From Alabama to the Bronx Zoo.
– Pretty neat.
– That’s pretty cool.
– And of course I always keep a few, that I save out for my own breeding stock.
– So do you get to see them come out, like the emergence out of the cocoon, or the pupa, excuse me.
– Yep, sure do. And in fact why don’t you take a few of these and we’ll see if you can catch them on camera, coming out of the cocoon and drying their wings? – Oh, I bet its, it feels like a trick. Is it hard to do? – Oh no you’ll be alright.
– Thank you. (wife) … wings, so I turned this upright so he could crawl. So he crawled from the bottom to to top.
– Just now. I’ve been waiting for weeks for this to happen. Alright so this is one of the most amazing parts of the process. This butterfly which is a totally different looking creature than what went into this pupa just came out of it, and what I think is cool is that those wings were folded up in such an efficient way that they were crammed into this thing. That’s amazing. So when he comes out, those wings are obviously kind of new, so they’re wet and floppy. So they have no real structural integrity so he can’t use them, so he’s pretty vulnerable for the first little bit. He comes up to the top here and he dangles his wings down. He’s got fluid in his abdomen and he starts pumping it into those veins on his wings so he can inflate it. It’s actually called inflation. Oh.. you see it? That’s excess fluid that the had in his body that he was getting rid of because he’s already inflated his wings. I can’t believe I just caught that. I just induced it really. Anyway, he just ejected that meconium because it was no longer needed for his wings because they’re already inflated. So it looks like he’s got one more fold in his wing that he’s trying to straighten out. He’s almost there but not quite. Where you going buddy? Oh! He just flew! That was the first moment that guy flew, so his wings were ready. OK so it turned out that butterfly emergence was a little too difficult for me, so I’m bringing it back to John. John’s gonna borrow the camera for a week or so and he’s gonna see if he can catch it for you. You gonna catch butterfly emergence?
– We’re gonna try.
– Alright. Next thing you’re gonna see is John with a camera. My timing was off.
– Alright we’ll see what we can do. These are the guys that I think are gonna be hatching over the next day or two. And down here I have my trusty old carrying case and I’ll actually be hanging the pupa from up on the roof there. Now if everything goes well, the next thing you should be watching is a butterfly as it hatches from its chrysalis. [music] Oh no! [laugh] A little bit in a hurry there. – Little bit higher? 123.. go! How’s that?
– Good.
– OK, so I mentioned earlier in the show I was going to show you what’s in this envelope. I was hand delivered this at work and it’s called a notice of decision to furlough, which means basically I no longer get paid on Fridays. This is a pretty big deal as a dad of 3, so there’s a way you can help me out of this situation. I’m very thankful that has decided to use Smarter Every Day to advertise. You know I don’t run advertisements on Smarter Every Day so this is a pretty big deal. During this time please consider going to and clicking on the free trial. That would help me a lot. They’re audio books, you can listen to tons of different types, but I’m gonna let her tell you what her favourite is.
– Hello this is my favourite book. It’s called The Dawn Treader. I like it very much because they go on adventures and like.. they are actually in a picture frame and they go to the end of the world.
– Going where?
– To the end of the world. They don’t have a…
– Tell them who wrote it. – By umm.. C.S.Lewis.
– And tell em who’s in it that I like. – Reepicheep. I’ll see if I can find a picture. – Who’s that?
– Reepicheep. If you look on some of his videos you can see a little Reepicheep right here. – OK. You wanna swap back?
– Yes, swap!
– I used audible before they used me to advertise. Clearly now’s a good time for me. You’re smart people, you know what’s up here. Anyway, I’m Destin, you’re getting Smarter Every Day,, free trial, it helps me out. Have a good one.
Who planted these flowers?
– I did. – Yeah?
– One of my favourites is right here. – What colour is it? This little pink one? That’s your favourite huh? – ahuh. Let me show you one that’s not from the rules. – I didn’t know flowers had rules.
– It’s not attached. – Oh, so the base of the bloom That’s strange, why would it do that.
– Your favourite place you ever gone – Umm.. I like Peru a lot. – Maybe… Are you filming that?
– Maybe. – Aww. [ Captions by Andrew Jackson ] Captioning in different languages welcome.
Please contact Destin if you can help.

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