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Monday afternoon, July 6th
Caterpillars, bottle biology, and aquariums - critters galore.  Want to have some neat critters in your classroom for your students to enjoy throughout the year? We placed a couple of painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui)  larvae into a holding cup with their diet and watched them go through their moltings, chrysalid, and finally adult stages.  After their wings were dry, we released them into a butterfly garden prepared outside the lab.  Despite the Texas heat, they seemed eager to check out their new surroundings.

    We spent a good part of the day at the Research Park at Texas A&M collecting samples of stream life and building our aquariums.  We cut open 2-liter soda bottles and put some sand and rocks at the bottom. We then collected some water from the stream, plant and animal life such as snails, moss, aquatic plants, and small fish.  Much to our surprise, some tadpoles mysteriously appeared in a few aquariums the following day.  The silt and fine grained sediment settled by the next day and the aquariums were quite entertaining.  We had a whole ecosystem in a liter and a half!