They seem very ordinary to us but not everyone has the opportunity to watch the metamorphic life cycle take place on a regular basis. My childhood is sprinkled with memories of these caterpillars and butterflies. Our home in California had the passion vines that the caterpillars live on, growing all along our back fence. It was the neighbor's but it was so enormous and robust it completely climbed over the fence into our yard. It was beautiful and it was COVERED with cute (to us) spikey, spunky caterpillars. I don't know when or why exactly but we started bringing the caterpillars inside, putting them in a big glass jar and watch them grow and turn into butterflies.
After moving to AZ it was quite a few years before my mom bought some passion vines and started a butterfly garden so to speak.
My mom is
obsessed over fond of them. Everyday she checks the vines for predators and kills any that may be lurking, she covers them with a net at times to keep the birds away (because contrary to popular belief, the spikes do not ward off birds, she has personally witnessed a bird snatching up a large, juicy caterpillar and flying off with it.) She brings in the caterpillars she finds to her indoor nursery on the kitchen windowsill so they won't get eaten. We never get tired of watching a new butterfly that we have known from a tiny egg break out of its chrysalis and fly away.