Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our Little Pupa


We’ve started calling Alice a little pupa when she’s all swaddled up (I’ll write more about swaddling later). Somehow she just doesn’t resemble a baby burrito anymore and she writhes and wriggles just like I imagine a pupa would. Anyway, that prompted a discussion about what exactly a pupa is so I had to do some web-based research to clarify. I found out that pupa is Latin for ‘doll,’ which is awesome, and learned something else even more awesome (via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pupa).
In a nutshell, a pupa is found only in insects who undergo a complete transformation; the pupal stage is between the larval stage and adulthood. Pupae are inactive and unable to move about, and can be enclosed in other structures like a coccoon (or a shell, etc). The pupae of different groups of insects are called different things, such as chrysalis (for moths and butterflies) and tumbler (for mosquitoes). The term chrysalis is derived from the metallic gold color of many butterflie pupae, referred to by the Greek term for gold; chrysόs. But here’s where it gets awesome...
According to Wikipedia (so let’s assume it’s true), Aurelia is an old synonym for chrysalis derived from the term aurelian, which was used to describe someone who studies butterflies’ emergence from chrysalides. How fantastic is that?? Aurelia sort of actually MEANS pupa!!!
I’m glad I came about this knowledge after she was already named, when my version of a pupa is a cute, smiling baby wriggling around in a swaddle. I mean, chrysalides are pretty cool and they spit out butterflies and all, but this info might have given me pause had I learned about it before she was born. As it is now, Alice Aurelia is a lovely name for an adorable little pupa who is sure to become a beautiful butterfly herself.



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