Eastern Black Swallowtails. I have a chrysalis that just formed yesterday. Only a few hours after the caterpillar formed his chrysalis, I found one of the other caterpillars trying to eat it. There is now a dark spot on the bottom of the chrysalis and there was a small amount of black liquid on the bottom of the cage directly underneath the hanging chrysalis. I moved the other caterpillar back to one of the plants and have left the chrysalis hanging.
It is no longer leaking any fluid. Is there a chance that the butterfly may still form correctly? Or would it be better to euthanize? Hi Megan, if the chrysalis looks normal not deflated it could be ok…. Hi there I have a question I am new at rasing monarchs first year. I have 17 now most are in their final stage. Yesterday I got to release a happy healthy monarch. But it stayed that way could not grab or move its legs. I wish I had gotten to it sooner I may of had a different outcome.
It was hot and humid that day could that have caused it? Hope to get some input. OE Parasites Info. Hi Tom: My husband and I just started bringing in monarch catepillars, 6 now and none seemed able to stay on the milkweed to form chrysalis. They all would get to the point of stopping all food consumption and start rubbing on the plants but would end up falling off and would lay in the liquid they were producing.
Try to get them back up on milkweed but by then, they seemed pooped out. If the liquid they are expelling is green it could be pesticides, if darker it could be viral or bacterial. My chrysalis are starting to turn black all on one side, and my butterflies are hatching but their wings are not developing like they should. What would cause this? My butterflies three hatched yesterday and five this morning—my first season of raising! Is this a sign of OE or are they just not good at attaching to certain surfaces or both?
Are some surfaces better than others? One BF yesterday fell after hatching from a chrysalis attached to a plastic cage, so I moved all the remaining chrysalides onto twigs, but I still had to rescue a few butterflies this morning—one was about to fall off and one did fall.
Does it help to have a piece of yarn or rope hanging down so they can climb on that? I tied the chrysalides up with plastic dental floss, and one butterfly struggled to gasp onto that to climb up from the chrysalis. Butterflies can easily hang down from the mesh roof of a cage. Luckily I am blessed with quite a lot of butterfly weed that reseeds annually. Some of the larger plants die back and sprout up in the spring. I plan to try your rooting method during the winter so that I can get a earlier start in the spring and also hope to have some potted milkweed to put cats on.
My question is this: I have one cat that chose the side of a milkweed cutting jar to pupate. I was planning on moving it but when I picked up the jar I realized that the side of the chrysalis is stuck to the glass. Any suggestions? On another note I found out that putting a 18 inch ceramic tile at the bottom of my 24 inch inclosure has been great. It hold it down well and gives me a great surface that is easily cleanable. The dried frass often rolls off and collects at the edges of the inclosure but it is easy to suck up with a hand-held vacuum as long as you watch out for meandering cats.
I also ordered an extra set of the floral tubes and they have done well. One thing I found at my house that has worked well is a glass floral frog. It has holes through it from top to bottom and it is used to arrange flowers. It is easy to clean and if I have several cats on a naked cutting, I just stick the cutting into one of the holes and they move easily to the fresh ones.
Hi Dianne, the butterfly just needs to emerge from the bottom of the chrysalis and then hang. You could try removing the chrysalis and rehanging maybe spray with water first to loosen it from the side or you could leave it and see if it has enough room…. A few weeks I brought in 24 eggs and almost all have now become chrysalis and hatched. Unfortunately, many were deformed. Reading about OE parasites, I believe this is the reason. I will not feed the same milkweed plants to my caterpillars still left but should I dispose of the milkweed.
Or cut it down and let it grow back for next season.? Once the milkweed is infected with parasites, does it recover? Hi Silvia, cutting back plants in continuous growing regions is recommended as OE spores and other pathogens build up on plants. The spores are not in the plants, but on them…. Monarch Diseases and Parasites. I guess it is not going to make it and I have no heart to put it in the freezer. How long will it live? Hi Tony, My husband and I are very new to this and are learning a lot. We did have one of our 4 butterflies with crumpled wings and after a google search, we determined it was affected by the OE parasite.
We did euthanize it. We have had one successful flight so far. Two still in chrysalis. One will emerge today. My concern is our 4th chrysalis. It has a brown spot close to the top by the gold rim for the past few days. We are excited to have this new hobby and help the butterflies.
How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?
The wings turned black within hours of my carefully moving it to a different location. Been several days since and the abdomen appears to be developing, a Golden brown. Is it dead and this is an infection or alive and probably sick? Second, I have a cat who I was feeding plenty except past 24 hrs due to tainted milkweed. I have no idea if he will pupate or die from dehydration. At this point, all you can do is monitor them and hope things work out…good luck.
I have 12 chrysalides and 1 is the emerald green color, but has slightly darker green tiger-like stripes on it. It should emerge in a couple days if all is well. Should I be concerned? Hi Caitlin, when things look a little off, all you can do is separate the chrysalis if there are others in the habitat, and monitor to see what happens.
I have a cat that has been trying to pupate for over an hour now. The skin is split just behind his head and was starting to wriggle but seems to have given up. Is there anything I can do to help him? I have a similar issue. My 6 year old knocked down the container last night with the catapiller hanging like a j. I carefully put the container back up out of her reach. This morning we woke up and you could see the skin has split only around his head and there is about a half inch of just skin he is hanging from.
Caterpillar Basics: What Do You Need to Know About Your Caterpillar?
No movement the last 7 hours. Is it dead? I fear I just made a terrible mistake and I wanted to check in to verify. I had a monarch caterpillar that had just spun his silky webbing and was hanging, still completely in caterpillar form like it had just happened, but the problem was that he did it right at the edge of where the lid slides open on the aquarium, so if he had turned into a chrysalis there I would not have been able to open the top at all to get into the tank for any reason.
My first instinct was to remove him from the top before he spun into his chrysalis since it was or at least seemed so fresh…he came off the top fairly easily, but the silk is still hanging from his rear. I laid him on a milkweed leaf and he is still alive, although he is not moving much at all. Did I just kill him? Rehanging a chrysalis or caterpillar in this case.
Thank you for the fast response. I have gone ahead and done this as described. Fingers crossed…and I am so glad that I found this resource! Thanks again! I have 2 that pupated about 9 days ago. I have another that pupated yesterday. The one that pupated yesterday has a pupa that is significantly smaller than the other 2 pupae.
Is this a cause for concern? All you can do now is monitor and hope for the best…. I was wondering what to do with a chrysalis that has formed looking strange. Should I remove the good chrysalis and relocate it and wait and see what happens with the strange one or just euthanize the odd one?
Hi, Tony. Thanks for all your help with these beautiful creatures! I have been restoring habitat on our land for native plants, insects, birds and other wildlife. Caterpillar 1 — On Saturday I brought my first ever caterpillar inside to an enclosure on its sprig of Swamp Milkweed [Asclepias incarnata]. Within 24 hours it stopped eating and has become a beautiful crysalis hanging on a stick. Caterpillar 2 — On Sunday I found another large larva eating Common Milkweed [Asclepias syriaca] and brought that cat inside to the enclosure on its sprig.
Then it began to look for a place to pupate. All night it remained motionless parallel to the underside of a stick. The goal is success for the butterfly! The last frass prior to this was a medium coral color! A friend who used to raise all kinds of moths and butterflies just told me that the last frass prior to the last molt is often an unusual color or consistency, although orange is a bit unusual.
I had many chrysalises on my milkweeds but none of them successfully hatched this time. Some of them failed to fully come out of chrysalis, some of them came of with deformed wings and died. I am in NZ and the weather is fairly warm throughout year. It is the beginning of spring and those caterpillars were growing during the winter. During the summer every thing was ok, This winter we had too much rain but was not really cold. Can you think about any causes of deformed wings or death? Observing the chrysalis I could see that it was shaped oddly on one side but it looked like the wing was intact.
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She was raised from an egg that I pulled from our garden milkweed and I tend to think this may be a genetic defect vs. Hi Andrew, sorry to hear about the lady with the missing wing…. I have a question about the relocation of a chrysalis: when moving them and re-attaching them to their new location, what would be the minimum distance between them?
Currently, I have tied them with floss to sticks and they are on average 1. Most will start emerging at different times and I have done my best to stagger them ; but, there are a few that formed their chrysalis within hours of each other. My son and I have been raising some caterpillars we found this summer in a hay field. We took them as the hay was about to be cut and they would have been cut down. They all seemed healthy and made it to chrysalis stage but now are not emerging? It has been 3 weeks and I am worried.
They are all still hard to the touch and the beautiful green. What is happening?
Should we continue to wait? We have 9 and they all formed pupated within 3 days of each other. Thanks for any suggestions you might have! Hi Jackie, if the chrysalises are green and look healthy, I would definitely continue to monitor. If the weather is cool, it can slow down metamorphosis although 3 weeks is a long time.
Last month I found a monarch egg and was able to raise him and watch him pupate successfully. When he turned dark I thought for sure he would emerge with the 24 hour window but three days went by and he still had emerged. You the chrysalis looked healthy and you could see his wings, but everywhere I read they said that more than 48 hours and they probably died. I was sad to think that had happened and took it outside and opened the chrysalis expecting him to be dead but he was still alive!
I eventually just placed him outside on some plants. What do you think happened? I should mention that when I tried to hang him he fell a few times. Hi Ashlee, the butterfly was sick and I would have euthanized to avoid spreading disease. Hi Linda, not normal but should be ok if the dripping stopped quickly and the chrysalis looks normal.
Hi there! It pretty much just sits still most of the day. When we first got it it was very active. Should I be concerned or is this normal? Thanks in advance! A few weeks ago I raised 11 caterpillars with all 11 successfully developing and I released 11 healthy butterflies. No problems. I removed the diseased chrysalis from the others. Any idea what might be happening? My first time raising monarchs. Thank you for your information.
This round of caterpillars is a disaster. Seems I have a tachinid fly issue. I isolated an infected chrysalis and after a few days, I tiny white maggot emerged from that chrysalis. What a learning experience. I will only bring in eggs next year or ones that have just hatched. My wife and I have been reporting Monarch migration sightings for a number of years, and even collected a few cats and raised them successfully. Yesterday a friend of mine while moving a big rock from a field found a large number of intact chrysalises underneath, like something had stored them there.
He brought 49 to us that we are now seeing if they will hatch. Lots of milkweed in this field. I have a hard time imagining that they all crawled under this rock and piled up together. I suspect chipmunks or mice were collecting them for winter. Have you ever heard or seen such a thing. He said there must of been of them but sadly a lot were killed when he moved the big rock with his tractor.
I found your site looking for hatching information. We live in upstate NY and the monarchs are just hatching out. There seems to be more that in the past few years. That is fascinating Keith…I would guess mice or rats but you never know unless you catch them green-handed. Hello Tony, this is my first time rearing Monarch caterpillars. One amazing cat molted 3 times in one week and is as big or bigger than ones hatched 3 weeks ago! I read that this is where their heart is and could possibly be a sign of disease or genetic defect. Any ideas on what could cause it? Or releasing diseased cats.
But there have been seemingly healthy cats with the dead and different cats, prior to symptom recognition and isolation. Now I am working on monarch butterfly life cycle. Arround 8 pm accidentally pupa has been holed at bottom and leak out some amount of black color liquid. After that holed area covered and now no liquid coming. I want to ask you what will be the effect of the pupa growth, it will damaged? But if it stopped leaking and still looks normal, you should hopefully be in good shape…good luck! I have about 5 chrysalides in a 10 gallon aquarium and had another 4 in a mesh pop up.
They still all look healthy. The only difference I can think of was I had the aquarium on the front porch at first but brought it in when it was cooler, whereas the pop up habitat has been in the house since the start. Is there something wrong with the ones in the aquarium. We have a crysalis that has attached to the side of our cage. There also are four others that are hanging from the top.
Would it be okay to unhook the screen and raise it so he is hanging vertically from the cage rather than horizontally. There is alot of silk on the screen and I am afraid the one side of the crysalis appears to be flattened. I am so afraid to hurt the crysalis. We thought about cutting out that part of the screen and attaching it to the top of the cage but I am so afraid I will hurt it. Hi Lisa, yes, allowing the chrysalis to hang down sounds like a good plan.
We have had 3 Monarchs for about 21 days now. After a couple weeks, our biggest formed a chrysalis without any problems. It has about 3 days to go. As for the other two, they have been caterpillars for over 20 days now and have stopped eating about three days ago. One is just resting on a milkweed leaf and the other is on the underside of a branch. I believe they are dying as the upside down cat will release its rear from the branch once in awhile like he is too tired to hold on.
We are in Southeastern Michigan and last week temps dropped at night to below 50 degrees. The cats are inside but maybe the house was too cool? We are not sure what to do. All you can do is provide fresh milkweed and hope they start eating. I am raising monarchs for the 1st time outdoors and have 2 issues. I currently have about 8 cats in different stages and 8 chrysalides. One of the chrysalis emerged last night, but the butterfly was on the floor of the box and his wings were still soft.
They are on my back porch and it dropped colder than I expected last night…. Could the cold have been the problem or something else? Also, a cat fell in the beginning stages of chrysalis development. It was a soft landing as I have shredded paper in the bottom of the box, but since it was still moving I brought him indoors to finish. There was some fluid emerging from the chrysalis, but not a lot and there is now a small black spot on the outside of the developed chrysalis.
I was able to hang it and it looks fine other than the spot. Hopefully it was just a fluke…good luck. Hi, I found this site after a google search about how to help a fallen chrysalis. I love how excited my students get about these little guys. I recently had my first chrysalis. Today I went to clean the enclosure and found another chrysalis on the ground! I never saw him hang at all so I think he just formed on the ground. Should I just let him try to hatch on the ground?
Hi Annette, you could rehang by tying waxed dental floss around the black cremaster above chrysalis or place the chrysalis on a mesh cage floor by a mesh wall so the butterfly can climb when it emerges…. Last night, my monarch caterpillar was hanging in J and fell.
He was still in the J shape but laying on the floor. I read somewhere that you can touch his last set of prolegs to the silk button and he will stick to that. That seemed to work, so I left him hanging there overnight. This morning I woke up to find him with his skin split only at the bottom- near his head. He is just hanging there with a little bit of his chrysalis exposed. Do you think that I should assume that he is dead? Should I try to peel back the rest of his skin? Thanks for any insight you can provide.
Sorry Amy, your monarch died trying to form its chrysalis. Hi, I have 8 monarchs in the chrysalis stage indoors. The first one started 14 days ago and still looks the same- none have emerged. Are they supposed to take this long or is something wrong? Hi Sandy, it can take longer for them to emerge when the temps cool down. If the chrysalis still looks healthy I would not worry…. Good news! The chrysalides still all look healthy and green. I have 4 more coming along. They appear to be in the 3rd instar. I had a butterfly that hatched but it fell to the bottom of the container rather than hanging to dry its wings.
Monarch Diseases. Hi Katrina, you can either put it inside a plastic baggie and put in the freezer, or place inside a paper towel and squeeze. How long will it take to die in the freezer? Also I just found a Monarch outside that has curled wingtips, thus unable to fly.
I brought it in and put in my butterfly pen with some sugar water — but is there anything I can do for it or should it be euthanized? Hi Katrina, I would leave them in for about 24 hours if you use that method. Whatever works best, Tony. My sixth one is concerning me. I had to move the stick the black chrysalis was hanging on. As I did if fell about 12 inches onto a stack of papers. It is now lying there without the top.
Will the monarch still emerge? Have I inadvertently killed the boy little guy? Is there anything I can do to help it at this point? If you have a mesh cage set it by a wall so it can climb up to hang. It will have to hang right away so the wings can dry properly…. Thanks for this fantastic resource on Monarchs!
I am trying to raise Monarchs for the first time. I have 1 chrysalis, 1 medium cat, and 3 eggs. Will my Monarchs still have time to mature and migrate? Any special precautions I should take? I just had a cage of cats die and I think it might be from some milkweed I recently purchased at a nursery. Yes, if you cut back, it should be fine to use next season. I have a few chrysalide and one of them turned to a brown almost black a couple days after it formed should I be worried and is it possibly dead or diseased?? Let me know please thank you. Same exact thing happened one a chrysalis I have.
Formed on the 7th of Sept. I removed it today and it has a crack on the one side. I successfully raised 11 cats this year for the first time and released 11 healthy butterflies so this is disappointing. Hi, I had one of my cats form his chrysalis on the side of the fish take a use to raise my cats.
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I thought about moving it several times but I was afraid to do it. Now the chrysalis is turning black and could hatch tomorrow or the next day. Is it too late to move it now? Otherwise, it can be moved any time…good luck! I ended up moving him last night anyway and when I got home from work today he had come out of his chrysalis along with another.
I should be able to release him tomorrow morning as long as the weather holds! I have 2 chrysalis. They do not look normal what should I do? Please help. Hey Kate, I would continue to monitor. If you brought these in as caterpillars it could potentially be tachinid fly parasites. Unfortunately, it sounds like a serious issue…. They acuallly hatched healthy! The red one turned out to be fine and the one that had fallen had hatched with its uper wings a little smaller, and she is darker, but she hatched fine: Thank you!!
First, thank you for this site. I come here A LOT for information and answers. I found and brought into an enclosed milkweed it is outside but wrapped in toulle , 4 smaller cats that are probably 2nd or 3rd instars. Last night I noticed they had all taken on a strange position and this morning, they are the same and it is worrying me!
Are they too cold? Did the new milkweed make them sick? Are you on Facebook? I have been raising milkweed for 3 years now and this year I finally see half a dozen cats on the milkweed.
Can you kindly help me learn the monarch way?? Monarch Butterfly Garden Facebook. I was given some caterpillars and chrysalides from a friend. The 2 larger ones both attempted to hang and started forming their chrysalis but both died in the process. This was very disappointing. Thanks for your help! Hi Elaina, sorry to hear about your monarchs. Dying during pupation is common when caterpillars have ingested an insect growth regular pesticides. My question is I just had 4 Monarch caterpillars go to chrysalis but instead of the skin shedding outside the chrysalis normal the skin is visible inside the chrysalis the very top.
I live in Randolph Ctr. This year a healthy crop of milkweed decided to sprout up in my perennial garden. Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of observing many Monarch caterpillars, chrysalises chrysalides, which is the proper plural? I have been trying to track the caterpillars and have been eagerly awaiting the emergence of 4 butterflies from their chrysalises.
I have taken many pictures throughout their life cycle. I have read in several publications that monarchs are usually only in the chrysalis for 10 — 14 days. The oldest chrysalis that I have been tracking has been in the chrysalis stage since August However, I do worry that too many camera flashes had an adverse affect on them. I would appreciate any thoughts you might have.
Thank you so much for your time. What is the longest time that it has taken a butterfly to emerge from a chrysalis? All the information that I have found states about 10 to 14 days. Could they actually still be alive? They are still alive!! Two butterflies emerged today. Hi Tony I have 2 monarch chrysalides that turned dark and can see the wings today. I am preparing for two more healthy releases and have 4 more to go! I live in Chicago and the days are typically warm and in the 70s but at night it drops down into the fifties and even the upper 40s.
If I release my monarch butterflies tomorrow during the warm day will they be able to survive the cold nights? Those night time temps are not a problem. They can survive temps below freezing so I would not worry at this point…good luck! We had a cat that was just shedding its last skin to form into a chrysalis. Our neighbor girl was blowing on it and knocked it to the bottom of the cage and it split the chrysalis as it was still soft.
I left it alone and it has hardened and turned green. It remains split about 1cm wide and 2cm long and I can see something moving inside. So far, we have separated it from the other chyrisalises we have but left it. Is there anything else we should do? Hi Sarah, I would tie waxed dental floss around the cremaster and rehang. All you can do at this point is monitor and hope for the best….
It is crinkled up at the top of the chrysalis under the cremaster. Can I leave it there or should I try to remove it? You must keep a fresh supply of food available to the caterpillar at all times. Change the food once most of it has been eaten or if it starts to wilt or dry out. Since caterpillars eat a lot, they also produce a lot of droppings called frass. You should clean out the caterpillar's housing regularly. When the caterpillar is on its food plant, it's a fairly easy process: remove the food plant and the caterpillar and let it continue munching away while you clean house.
Make sure you clean out the small jar holding the food plant, too. If the housing becomes too moist in the housing, you may discover fungus forming in the soil layer. When that happens, be sure to remove the soil completely and replace it. You won't need to do much once the caterpillar pupates, but you should remove the food plant. The pupa can dry out if the habitat becomes too dry or become moldy if it's too damp. Some butterfly and moth keepers recommend removing the pupa from the caterpillar housing, but this isn't necessary if you check the jar once in a while.
If the soil appears extremely dry and crumbly, a light spray of water will add a little moisture. If condensation appears on the jar, wipe it down. Spring and most summer caterpillars may emerge as adults within a few weeks after pupating. Fall caterpillars usually overwinter in the pupal form, meaning you will have to wait until spring to see the moth or butterfly. Keeping overwintering pupae in a cool basement or unheated garage will prevent premature emergence.
You don't want a butterfly flying around your home in winter. When the adult emerges, it will need time to dry its wings before it can fly.
This may take a few hours. Once it is ready to fly, it may begin fluttering its wings rapidly, which can damage the wings if the butterfly or moth is left in the jar. Take the jar outdoors, preferably to the area where you collected the caterpillar, and set it free. Share Flipboard Email. Debbie Hadley is a science educator with 25 years of experience who has written on science topics for over a decade. They make liquid silk in their salivary spit glands and then drool it through an opening in their lip called a spinneret.
It hardens into a thread when it comes into contact with the air and the caterpillar wraps it round and round itself to make the cocoon. Not exactly, but they do have two tooth-like mouth parts called mandibles that they use to bite and chew. They work from side-to-side, not up and down like our teeth. Be especially careful not to touch hairy caterpillars as some of these can cause a nasty skin rash. Found a cute or curious-looking caterpillar?
Post a picture on social media using NatureDetectives. Posted in: Why woods are wonderful. I'm passionate about inspiring people, especially children, to explore our fantastic woods and have magical adventures they'll remember forever. My Scrapbook. Back to Woodland Trust Find a wood to visit. Search Nature Detectives blog blog posts listed Browse Nature Detectives blog By Category Plan your adventure 33 Recipes 12 Things to do at home 72 Things to do outside 93 Why woods are wonderful By Year 15 50 59 38 Is a caterpillar an insect?
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