Criteria for Judging Chrysalis Viability?
This year was my first to have overwintering chrysalises (three Papilio multicaudata and one P. polyxenes), and I brought these back indoors from their winter quarters on Wednesday. However, I am wondering how I might tell whether they are still alive. Two of the chrysalises look the same as they did last fall, and are still flexible in their abdominal segments, as healthy chrysalises should be. So, I figure that they're fine. The P. polyxenes chrysalis is a green form chrysalis, and it still feels alive, but the joints between its abdominal segments are in their expanded position (per the bendy straw effect), and I can see a brown coloration that I am not used to under the softer skin of the joints. So, I don't know what to think of this chrysalis. The third P. multicaudata chrysalis I'm fairly sure is dead. It does not look healthy --- it's darker in color than it was last year, it feels like it's had rigor mortis set in, and the skin looks different than normal, like it is weathered and rough, and almost like it is peeling slightly. Also, there were several small insects (looked similar to thrips) running around in the enclosure outside that seemed to be congregated to some extent around this chrysalis.
Currently, I have the first three chrysalises in a cage together, and the fourth separated. My questions are as follows:
1. Is it worth keeping the third P. multicaudata chrysalis around just in case it is not dead, or would you guys recommend just getting rid of it?
2. What are your thoughts on the P. polyxenes chrysalis? I suspect it's still alive, but I don't know. Would it be a good idea to separate it from the other chrysalises?