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I accidentally kept an infected chrysalis?

Posted by Creative_Poison none (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 11:12

So, I'm pretty new to keeping caterpillars/moths/butterflies. I have a small 'cage' that I'm using that i borrowed from my mothers play group as they weren't using it. This is temporary until I get a better one. Anyway, i have kept caterpillars before, but this time it's more serious. I'm actually really into it this time! I decided to start with cinnabar moths as they're really common where i live, i have 16 caterpillars and i made sure i cleaned any plants i put in the cage and kept their original plant as they were quite small.
So, back to my point, my sister found a chrysalis and wanted to keep it. I agreed, since i didn't see any harm. But turns out it was infected.. Let me explain, it was kinda light when we first found it, but it had a few dark patches. I couldn't find a colour match to any type of caterpillar! I figured it must be dead but kept it just in case, as there were no visible cracks or holes. But today, i was checking the caterpillars and was surprised to see tiny "flying ants". I killed them all, not knowing if they were harmful to the caterpillars or not. It's only now that I've researched it that i realise... They aren't ants, but parasites. -sigh- I removed the chrysalis, not suspecting it was the cause. I thought it was from a plant, but it was an infected chrysalis. I'm definitely going to be more careful now!
Anyway, I'm wondering, do you think the parasitic wasps could have infected the caterpillars? Should i get rid of them? I also have a small tortoiseshell butterfly in with the caterpillars, she had just emerged from her chrysalis/cocoon when i her, she couldn't fly and had an injured wing, so i put her in he cage. Would the parasites have infected her? Should i release her in case she harms the caterpillars? Any information regarding this is REALLY appreciated! Thank you!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I accidentally kept an infected chrysalis?

Sorry to hear your sad news :(
I would separate each caterpillar into its own enclosure and see what happens as a case by case basis. You may have gotten the parasitoids before they mated and started laying eggs in your cats. Some to all cats may be saved if you separate them now.

John


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