Caring for your Chrysalis

party favors chrysalis containers

 

A minute speck of life is set upon a leaf,
out crawls a miracle, a butterfly to be… 

 

girl with chyrsalisCongratulations!! You are now the proud and fleeting caregiver of a pre-emergent Butterfly…

To ensure your butterfly’s safe passage from chrysalis to adult you will need to provide a proper shelter in which the final stages of metamorphosis may occur.

Whether you have received your chrysalis in a pre-made environment or not, be sure that your butterfly will have room enough to fully expand its wings upon its emergence from the chrysalis. This is very important, for if the unfolding wings are cramped and unable to spread out, they may dry warped and your butterfly may not be able to take its maiden flight.

A clear plastic cup measuring at least 16 oz in size is suitable for this purpose. You will also need, if your chrysalis is not already attached to one, a stick for your newly animated butterfly to climb up and rest upon.

A cover which is porous and allows for minimal air flow is also necessary. Wedding veil, burlap, thin tissue or even coffee filters all work well as makeshift lids. String, ribbon or rubber bands are also excellent for holding a top in place which will safely keep the butterfly until it is ready to be released.

Once you have your chrysalis set up in a secure container then there is not much to do but simply sit back and enjoy watching Mother Nature work her magic…

 

monarch on pink flowerMaster magician, munching to and fro, a caterpillar works illusions till the end of his show!

 

The average chrysalis takes about a week to 10 days to emerge but depending on the season and species this can vary greatly. You may need to be patient and investigate further before giving up on an “apparently” non-emergent chrysalis. Read up on the specific kind of butterfly you are raising to note it’s average time period for the chrysalis stage. You can also gently wiggle the chrysalis to determine it is still flexible and alive. If it feels ridged and is hollow sounding when lightly tapped, then it may no longer be viable.

Take precaution to place your container in a safe place inside your home. It is not recommended to leave a chrysalis outdoors as ants and other critters may discover it. Keep your butterfly near a window or in a sunny room, however, avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, as excessive heat could create a damaging environment.

After some time you will notice the chrysalis begin to darken. This is normal and usually indicates that the butterfly is ready to make its entrance. Once the butterfly has come out it will need to hang in the cup in order to dry its wings. You may notice a couple of drops of reddish-orange fluid dripping from the butterfly. This is nothing to worry about. The droppings are only excess fluid that the butterfly needs to release so that it may become lighter and able to flitter away.

painted lady butterflies nectaring

 

A self made sanctuary, a place for change and growth, a chrysalis is created in anticipation of both…  

 

Do not attempt to handle or release the butterfly until its wings have completely dried. Factors such as temperature and humidity can influence how long the drying process will take, but if the butterfly begins to flutter its wings with ease then this usually is a good indication that they are set.

When you are ready to free your butterfly, be sure to step outside into a natural environment as the butterfly may be eager to soar away. Carefully cut the rubber band or other binding away from the cup and gently flip back the covering.

chrysalis containerYou may use either a twig or your own finger to aid the butterfly in its release. No matter which method you prefer, remember to try not to touch the butterfly’s wings as this could cause permanent damage.

To set your butterfly free, gently place your finger or a twig in front of and slightly above the butterfly’s front two legs. The butterfly will step up and onto whichever object you provide as it fulfills it natural tendency to climb upward.

If your butterfly is not wanting to fly off, then this could be a perfect time to take some great pictures! Most newly emerged butterflies are typically not shy of humans and make great subjects when posing for a photograph.

When you have finished enjoying your beautiful friend, place it in a sunny location. Here the butterfly may bask in the warmth for a while, before gracefully soaring off into a new world.

 

Soar like the spirited Butterfly, who is as passionate upon tattered wing, as she was on her maiden flight…

 

monarch flying

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