Deformed Butterflies

This topic contains 21 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  mimi 6 years ago.

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  • #12946

    Bridgit
    Member

    We are in our 2nd year of raising butterflies with the kids. This year we have had one successful butterfly whose chrysalis was inside. Last week one that was outside was black and eventually the bottom fell off and all that was inside was black sludge. Another has hatched today and it’s wings will not open properly, one side still all crumpled and it’s head almost looks as though it has a protective helmet over it’s face? Any feedback on what may be happening or is this just the way nature is?

Viewing 21 replies - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
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  • #17802

    mimi
    Participant

    Today we had a butterfly hatch with a small but perfect hole in one wing and also like someone before here mentioned with a seemingly blocked duct as it could not pump its wing up porperly. We have put it in the freezer.

    We have had six butterflies emerge in our lounge just on the wettest day this week. Had a tough job keeping every one out of harms way but they have flown now. three hatched today, the last one is still sitting on a plant outside. We’ll get him in before dark, it is getting too cold. You can be very busy with the little critters, but it is very rewarding. Had a family with smal children visit today. They were so fascinated by it all. Had never seen it before. Didn’t know about caterpilars and chrysalides. It is wonderful to see their wonder!

    Regards Esther

    #17788

    margie
    Participant

    Hi ClairBehr,
    I agree with Swansong to bring them inside they have worked hard to get to this stage it would be a shame to loose them to the cold weather :( If they are on leaves just break off the leaves and sellotape them to something, it doesn’t take long to do that way. I tape mine around the television cabinet as it is waist height. They hatch a lot quicker indoors as well just an idea you can think about.
    Cheers Margie

    #17783

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi ClaireBehr : )
    50+ inside would be a sight wouldnt it!!!! that is if theyall hatched together…. however I think you can safely relax on the score, unless you either had : 1/ Mrs Monarch did 50 eggs in one day OR 2/ More than one Mrs Monarch was visiting …. anywayz if you have rugged weather coming the chrysalis’ could get damaged/blown off through wind or for this time of the year I wouldn’t even rule out an early frost ANYWHERE below Auckland with the strange weather we are having these days. Chrysalsis’ certainly wont make it in the frost. If it was me I would just gather them all up and put them on springerpegs with a thin straight peice of wire through the spring and lay that over the top of an empty box. Real easy, doesn’t take up too much room, but granted it can take a wee bit of time to set it up and “watch the proceedings”.

    Swansong

    #17775

    ClaireBehr
    Member

    Let my butterflies go today, had two more hatch in the laundry and they wanted to go straight away as the weather cleared up momentarily! Gave one or two a feed of sugar water before they left. Had another hatch outside too, hope this storm bearing down on Bay of Plenty doesnt damage any – i’m not bringing 50+ inside!!! I’m just bringing in the ones who look like they might hatch in the next few days.

    #17744

    petra i would lets some go even though u worked hard cadypillergirl

    #17743

    Terry
    Participant

    Always protect your pupae from predators and keep out of direct sunlight, a cool place is better than a hot one, and spraying the pupae occasionally with tepid water can help to simulate conditions in the wild like early morning Dew.

    #17742

    margie
    Participant

    Hi Swansong
    As usual it’s always great to read your input.
    Regarding feeding your butterflies, is it possible to put a container of sweet water outside for the butterflies to feed from. Have you or anyone done this?Do you think they will feed from it. I was in Dunedin in the weekend and went to the butterfly house they have at the Otago Museum and they have imported butterflies from Japan I think but don’t quote me on that but they were from Asia.They import the chrysalis and they hatch them and then release them into the butterfly house, it was great to see but alas no monarchs anyway they had dishes with cut up fruit and sugary water in them and the butterflies were always landing on the dishes and drinking the nectar from the dishes. It made me think if I could do that during the winter to feed the butterflies that may be wintering down here. Just a thought would appreciate anyones input and thoughts.
    Cheers Margie

    #17741

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi ClaireBehr, on the very odd accasion a butterfly will eat within an hour or two of hatching but usually the butterflies wont eat for a day or two. They taste with their feet and nectar from flowers is best, but Ive successfully fed mine honey and water both seperately and together with varying mix %’s. They generally choose to eat when they are hungary so dont worry about this. I would imagine you being up north would be fine to hatch out the rest of your butterflies. It will take longer now though because the nights are drawing in even if it is still warmish. They will just “park up” on the wet days or otherwise unsuitable weather and just sorta “wind down” in to a semi hibernation mode. They are very good at finding shelter, although I wouldn’t hesitate to bring in any new releases back inside to wait out the weather if theyre stuck out in the rain out in the open. A darkish cool place is good which is probably simulating there outside behaviour anyway. This also has the effect of quietening them down. Also a tip about if they are all warm inside, they get revved up and head for the windows. They can and do easily damage their wings so its best to have nets up if you are having them inside so its a somewhat soft landing and acts as a barrier.

    HTHs
    Swansong

    #17733

    ClaireBehr
    Member

    I’ve been feeding three butterflies today (it was a great success after two or three goes at getting them to feed), and have left them inside overnight because the weather is just too awful for them to go outside – one got really flighty so i have let him (yes of course it’s a boy) go a couple of times, but he ends up on the grass outside int he pouring rain and just stays there, so have broubght him back in. They dont seem deformed at all, but only after a feed do they flutter about, is this cos it’s cold or are they waiting to do something? The other butterflies i’ve seen hatch have flow away the same day – usually on sunny warm days.

    I would like to know if the rest of my chrysalis’ will hatch now that the weather has turned cooler and its p’ing down with rain! None look likely, but i have rescued a couple and brought them inside (they were on the ground). Any answers for me?

    #17731

    petra
    Member

    I’m starting to hatch my second group of butterflies after having such great success over the summer. However 5 have hatched so far and none have survivied. Most are struggling to get out of the chrysalis, I do help them out with the tweezers, but their wings are very small & a few struggled to hold on to the plant, they just fall off or their wings remain all floppy. They are outside in a sheltered spot so they should be getting plenty of moisture around the chrysalis, I haven’t seen any pests about. Is it getting too cold for them to hatch? I am in Mt Eden, Auckland & it has only just turned cooler. I have another dozen that will be hatching soon & 4 more catepillars fattening up.

    #17045

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hi Belinda – I suggest (then) a moat around the “island” that your butterfly will be on – say a vase of fresh flowers or whatever. Moats work well with ants.

    Hope that helps.

    Jacqui

    #17044

    margie
    Participant

    Hi CathMitchell: Just wondered how your butterfly is doing the one with the deformed back leg did it fly:)
    Cheers Margie

    #17043

    Anonymous

    ok you guys have inspired me – we now have our ‘mutant’ butterfly inside and am feeding him honey and water and providing him with fresh flowers each day. he seems to be getting smaller (losing weight/dying?) but is still alive and happy to walk onto my 3year olds finger when she puts it in front of him. how long do you usually keep these guys alive for looking after them like this? im also having trouble keeping the ants away from the honey!

    #17008

    zoe9
    Member

    Oh that’s nice – good to know it’s not just me. Mine used to go outside too until one day a strong gush of wind came out of no-where and carried one right over the fence into the road. I promtly headed straight out to retrieve him and then watched in horror as a car turned into the street and drove right over where he was. I shreiked (yes, shrieking right there in the street, am sure the neighbours think I’m insane)and covered my eyes ,and then slowly removed them once the car had gone to see, much to my relief, the butterfly still sitting in the middle of the road unharmed.
    After that they just stayed inside. Way less stressful that way !

    #16999

    Gilly
    Participant

    I do the same with my non-flyers Zoe…. put them on flowers and let them have a flutter in the garden but have to stand guard over them cos of praying mantis etc. I only put them in the freezer if they can’t feed otherwise I think they have the right to a bit of life… and yes, my hubby thinks I am pretty dotty too :) :)

    #16983

    Anonymous

    we have the weirdest butterfly of all at the moment (i also am too much of a softie to freeze the sad ones). this butterfly is perfectly formed except its wings are tiny – both wings are fully developed but only come about a quarter of the way down its body. It has just hung around our house near the swan plant for about a week now and is still alive.

    #16979

    zoe9
    Member

    I’m too soft-hearted to freeze any of my ‘bumbles’ (my name for the ones whose wings don’t extend properly) so every summer I end up with them in the living room inside a large plastic container. They have dirt and grass and plants to sit on and I feed them twice a day with sugar water. They take turns sitting on the sofa around a jam jar lid filled with it and I uncoil their proboscis with a toothpick and dip it in. They’ll then sit there and eat. Some have eaten for up to 15 minutes – it’s like they’ll never finish. Funny things.
    At the moment I have 5 bumbles. Last summer the most I had at one time was 18 – that was hard work with the feeding.
    Most live around 2 – 3 weeks, although one big guy last year lived for over 12 weeks. I was actually quite upset when he finally died I was that used to having him around.
    My husband thinks I’m quite crazy of course but I don’t care. I can’t just let them die so I do what I can to make their lives comfortable.

    #16940

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hi cath

    Sad to see this, isn’t it – but think of all the ones that you’re seeing emerge safely.

    Jacqui

    #16934

    CathMitchell
    Member

    I had a butterfly hatch today – Feb 29th – with its back hind leg deformed and its smaller left wing seemed to have a blocked duct as when it tried to pump up its wings a bubble formed inside and the wing has not fully extended. It has been hanging on a begonia for about 5 hours now and will be surprised if it flies.

    #16540

    Bridgit
    Member

    Thanks for your feedback. After reading yesterday i went outside and resuced the poor thing and put it in the freezer. On a good note, we had another butterfly emerge today and it took to the skies early this afternoon. All intact!

    #16539

    Gilly
    Participant

    Sometimes it just happens Bridgit…. unfortunately. It sounds as though some of the chrysalis ‘case’ is still on your butterfly’s head? Can you ease it off gently?

    I raise my butterflies inside and still have crumpled ones emerge sometimes…. sad … sometimes if they are not too damaged I keep them and put them on fresh flowers each day and feed them honey & water mix… sometimes if they are badly injured I put them in freezer where they die. Many die in the wild too…. I guess it is just nature :( :(

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