Gst fell during/right after pupating, what to do?

ams2009September 29, 2010

I checked on one of my gst cats, that was preparing to pupate, this evening and saw that it had fallen onto bottom of shoebox that he was in. It was laying on its side, and appeared to have just formed chrysalis, so I guess he fell when trying to shake off old skin, you can see the silk sling and silk pad below, not sure what went wrong. Other than the fact that he's lying on bottom of box, the chrysalis looks fine, and not deformed as far as I can tell. I tilted box so that the backside of chrysalis is resting in corner of box, and underside is not touching anything, is this the best way to place the chrysalis while it dries? The underside still appeared to be wet so was trying to make sure that side wasn't pressing against the box while it dried. Any suggestions/advice appreciated. I always place them in a shoebox covered with nylon (hosiery) after they purge and then after they pupate and chrysalis dries, I cut out the section of cardboard they are attached to and hang it in a mesh cage. Not sure why he fell, but hoping he will be healthy when he emerges! Thanks!

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When I have a swallowtail chrysalis fall, I make a sort of hammock using a strip of gauze & a twig. I cut about a 2" length of 1 1/4" wide gauze & wrap it around the twig, taping the cut ends to the twig. (This makes a sleeve into which you can insert the chrysalis.) Tape the bottom opening of the hammock/sleeve to the twig so the chrysalis won't slide out the bottom. (Make sure no sticky part of the tape is exposed.) Place the chrysalis in the hammock as it would have hung had it attached itself to the twig, and prop the twig securely against one wall of the cage. Make sure the hammock isn't holding the chrysalis too tightly against the twig and isn't so deep that the butterfly can't pull itself out.

I hope I have explained this well enough that it will be useful to you. I wish I had a picture to show you.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:58AM
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Thank you! I'm just so afraid of handling the chrysalis too much, or afraid i would end up damaging it somehow! I was wondering if it would be okay to lay it down in a certain position where the b/f can crawl out when it's ready or no? Will the butterfly not form properly if the chrysalis isn't suspended? I tried moving it(it's dry) but he/she wiggled a LOT to protest so I left it alone. If I were to leave it lying like on a paper towel in my mesh hamper, does anyone know which side up? Idk if this matters but the silk sling is still there and totally intact, I think the silk pad on the bottom that it attaches itself to is the part that came loose, thanks!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:18PM
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This one is right up my alley!!!

I have raised about 60 GSTs this season and after having a few fall and tear their wings on the sticks I went with Ladobe's (I think it was Larry's) suggestion to just remove them from the sticks altogether and lay them on their side on the bottom of a big mesh pop up hamper (or in a container with mesh, paper towel on the bottom and all sides). Needless to say I handled them quite a bit to get them off the sticks or remove them from whatever lid they had attached to, and not a one had a problem, it has worked really well. Now I don't even put sticks in the containers when they are cats and they pupate just fine on the top or sides of the plastic container, it is actually easier to remove them from that than from a stick.

So bottom line:

No, they do NOT need to be suspended and you do not need to go to any great lengths to recreate a hanging position. Just lay them on their sides - doesn't matter which side as long as they are facing the outside of the cage (picture how they face the stick, with their midsections kind of curved inward toward the stick, you want them curved toward the wall of the container). As long as they have something to cling to/climb on they will be fine!

One more thing, I would snip the sling so that the BF does not get stuck in it coming out. MIght not eveen be necessary, but it is easy to do and won't hurt them.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:52PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

Pupae/Chrysalis that have hardened can easily be removed from any thing if your first spray them with water. Wait 10 seconds and the silk can be lifted with a stick pin. The water makes the silk loosen. If it doesn't come up right away, then spray with water again. You can usually get the whole silk pad up and then I weave a stick pin (with plastic head) through the silk and then pin that to the mesh container by weaving the stick pin vertically (doesn't fall out that way). Leave the sharp point of the stick pin on the outside of the cage.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 7:58AM
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Thanks everyone! I think I'm going to try lying the chrysalis on it's side in the mesh cage or some container lined with mesh or a fabric that the butterfly can use to grip when crawling out and up to hang and dry wings. The pupa is totally detached from the silk pad & silk sling, so I wouldn't be able to try the pin trick, although ideally I wish that was the case and there was some silk pad attached that I could pin to mesh cage. I think I'll need to order another mesh cage because I now have about 30 gst cats who are in various instars in the one mesh cage I have. They don't crawl around much but I couldn't guarantee that the chrysalis wouldn't get damaged if one or more cats decided to wander.

Shannon, my mesh raptarium has the plastic poles on all sides of floor of the cage so anywhere in cage that I lay the chrysalis woudnt be where the butterfly could reach the mesh, so I was thinking maybe I could drape paper towels over the plastic frame/ poles and place chrysalis on the paper towels? Does that sound like it would work? Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 2:38PM
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HI again - the paper towel thing should work fine! Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 9:47PM
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my swallowtail pupa fell off and there's a liquid started to emerge from the pupa that should I do? will it be ok or it will just die?

This post was edited by Nezumi on Mon, Jul 1, 13 at 20:50

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 8:39PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

I doubt it will make it but I suggest you lay the pupa on a paper towel in a container that either has sticks or walls a butterfly would be able to climb. The paper towel gives the butterfly something to grab so it can pull itself out of the pupa. Give it a month unless the pupa is obviously dead.

It happens, even in nature.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 2:02AM
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