Caterpillar pupating on vertical wall

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Vanda 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Hi guys,

    I found a caterpillar pupating on a wall. It hasn’t shed its skin yet, but it is clearly hanging by a bit of silk and not moving.

    It’s very much alive. A gentle nudge and it curls in sideways. Awkward position and since it’s not hanging down properly I’m concerned it won’t have room to wiggle and shed its skin.

    Has anyone faced a similar situation before? Will this guy be okay?

    Vanda (in Taupo)

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  • #56448


    Thank you for the replies, Bright123, Jacqui and Carol 🙂

    As you say, it’s all a learning experience. It’s certainly an amazing end of season here in my garden (Taupo). I’m tagging for the 1st time, and ordered 50 tags thinking that would be enough. I think I need to get 50 more, at least!



    Yes, agree Jacqui and bright123 – I think once at that stage we just have to let them do their thing –
    I too have had them pupating on walls, posts, fences, corners – half the time I don’t even know they are there until they are firm chrysalises or even until they hatch but they do seem to emerge okay!



    I would never try to move a chrysalis while it is still soft/damp. And I have had them in the past be a little bit squashed because of where they are, but the butterflies emerge just fine.

    There are many things I have done wrong over the past x years in raising butterflies… and although I’m sad I did the wrong thing, I put it down to being lessons what not to do in future.

    You’ll never know if you were wrong or not – or whether this guy had something else wrong with him – but focus on the many that you have helped rather than the one that didn’t make it.

    Keep up the good work!



    This year I had two monarchs pupate on a vertical wall – one was actually on the corner of something. I was dubious about one at the time because his chrysalis was a little flattened at the top, but they both progressed and hatched normally in the end. So I wouldn’t worry if you see a caterpillar pupating on a wall, but sounds like maybe with the one that died there was something else wrong.



    Thanks for the replies, Connie and Leslie 🙂

    Connie – this guy was firmly stuck to the wall at this point.

    The caterpillar actually shed the skin okay, however because the chrysalis is so soft at the beginning, one of its sides was just flattened against the weatherboard. I tried very carefully to remove it while it was still somewhat soft (hoping it would revert back to a more cylindrical shape), but it fell and died. I don’t think a normal butterfly would have emerged from this chrysalis anyway, but it was sad to see. As always, when we lose a butterfly.

    Why this little guy didn’t just go another 10 cm forward was beyond me, but as Leslie says, maybe it’s an insect IQ thing. Or maybe it was just a bit sick.



    Hi Vanda hope your mixed up caterpillar made it ok. sadly mine was a pupation fail 🙁 , he didn’t even get to start shedding his skin. I wonder if he was unwell to start with.



    is it just having a rest on the way up to the ledge above?



    I’ve got one doing the same thing … why when it had so much to choose from is anyones guess. I’ve had a few others choose some similar situations (door frame) and is just fine. You get the impression the insect world has a range of IQ’s as well 🙂

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