Baby Blues and scientific literacy

Laurel Godley godley at
Mon Feb 7 13:11:24 EST 2000

Martha et al,

I think your concern is actually founded but let me provide a point of 

Long time favorite children's book, The Hungry Caterpillar (I believe it 
is,) also makes the very same mistake.  The caterpillar spins a cocoon and 
emerges as a beautiful butterfly.  Disney took liberties with it's "Bugs 
Life" movie too.

There is in fact a type butterfly native to the US that spins cocoons.  It 
is called a parnassus and is considered a member of the swallowtail family.  
I'm in the process of rearing some now.  So I do not actually know how many 
weeks or months it takes for the butterfly to emerge.

In the case of the hungry caterpillar book, the author does mention on his 
webpage that he took some liberties and correctly refers to the parnassus as 
a unique example of a cocoon spinning butterfly.  So I suppose that my 
complaint to him would be that caterpillars don't really eat all those 
things and that the butterfly that emerges in the book is too colorful to be 
a parnassus.

Hope this helps...  Laurel
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