Friday, May 1, 2015

Queen Alexandra's Sulphur Butterflies - Unschooling Science Strikes Again

While we were out trying to get a peek at the baby ground squirrels, the kids noticed the small butterflies, that I had been calling cabbage whites, didn't look as white as the ones we're used to seeing.  In fact, they looked to be more of a florescent yellow-green.

Naturally, we had to take a closer look.

And happily for us, a couple of the little guys were good enough to fly in and land on a dandelion for just long enough for us to sneak up, and get a few good pictures... label, like with the honey bee.

...and identify, with the help of the Montana Field Guide...

...after a short detour to for a review of animal classification (you have to have a subscription to view the BrainPop video, but you can find the simpler BrainPop Jr. video on animal classification, here, on YouTube).  I'm not trying to sell you on a subscription service, BrainPop just happens to be our go-to site for easy to digest bits of information, and in this case was great help as we navigated through the Montana Field Guide:
  • from Kingdom - Animals - Animalia
    • to Phylum - Insects, Springtails, Millipedes - Mandibulata
      • on to Class - Insects - Insecta
        • and Order - Butterflies / Moths - Lepidoptera
          • and Family - Orange-tip / White / Sulphur Butterflies - Pieridae
            • and finally to Species - which turned out to be a Queen Alexandra's Sulphur - Colias alexandra rather than a Cabbage White - Pieris rapae - same family, but different butterfly.

A little more research revealed some interesting facts about this particular butterfly, that led us on another adventure involving a homemade butterfly net, a fish bowl, and a UV flashlight, that I hope to tell you all about...


It's great to be a homeschooler.


Angelic Scalliwags said...

Looking forward to hearing more. I love how you take a picture and label that. I shall have to start doing that as it is much more helpful than labeling diagrams.

Phyllis said...

I am enjoying all the nature study you have been doing lately.

Ticia said...

What an interesting looking butterfly.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I'm impressed you were able to get close enough for those photos!