Butterfly that can’t fly

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  • #13146

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi I found one of the butterflys that I had released outside last week lying on teh grass not far from where I left her – but she doesn’t seem to be able to fly she can certainly flap her wings but doesn’t go anywhere – I have her in a shoe box with some leaves and grass and some sugar and water – she has fed a couple of times but only when I put her – I can’t see anything wrong with her wings so don’t understand why she can’t fly – any help would be appreciated – also how often should I feed her a day – she seems happy enough in her box but I want to do whats best for her and I don’t want her to die – thanks

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  • #18570

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Whereabouts are you, Megatone? I suspect that you’re in the northern hemisphere (USA?) as you refer to it getting cooler. Yes, well if it can’t fly very well, I would suggest keeping it indoors as a pet, feeding it sugar water as you have been doing. If it had lost most of its wings, it may well be that it had finished its reproductive cycle and may be near the end of its life too.

    Hope that helps!

    Jacqui

    #18568

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hello all i’am totaly new to butterfly. the reason i’am writing is for some advice, i found a monarch with 95%of his wings gone he had four stubs for wings, i took it home and fed him sugar and water,he was very hungry. i dont know what made me get extra wing and attmpted to replace his missing wings knowing he had stubs for back wing and mostly 2 skeleton sticks for his front wings,well i attempted it and it worked, the problem he flys downwards figuring maybe he is weak or the wings are not properly set, they seem to be in good order he flap his wing up and down as if he excercising the wings for flight, he finnally took off and flew across my yard to the neighbors driveway and landed on the pavement, it seems that he strugling to stay afloat. does this mean i’am stuck with him since he hasnt been able to fly easly. it is getting cooler out here i think even if he tries hard enough to fly he wont make it far. so i can’t let him go. what to do? do i keep him inside till his final day?

    #17907

    ladeda
    Participant

    Is it the colder weather?

    I had another one hatch yesterday and came home today to find her (him?) still hanging from the food cover under the deck. I didn’t want to leave the food cover hanging in the wind as there are some more black chrysalises on it, so tried to put her on a flower. That didn’t work and then she tried to fly away but landed in the gutter. I climbed up and saved her and she is now in the greenhouse for the night with a potted petunia and a branch of hebe flowers that I broke off a nearby bush (thanks for the food tips). I hope it’s not too cold for her overnight?

    BTW A sad tale – I noticed a chrysalis hanging under the table on the deck had hatched but no butterfly. I then saw it crumpled on the deck, still alive but with wings all crumpled. I couldn’t straighten the wings as they had “set” like that so I put it in a bag and into the freezer to euthenase…

    #17906

    zoe9
    Participant

    Thanks Clair. Meanwhile no flying practise for him today because it’s horribly windy here (40 km/h!) and I can’t risk him being caught in a big gust because he’d just be gone and I won’t know if it was due to him actually flying or the wind carrying him (although I suspect the latter!)
    Hopefully tomorrow will be nicer. If not he can hang out in the netted area again. I have lots of nice flowers for him in there and there’s room to move about so I don’t think he’ll mind !

    #17901

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Yes, fingers crossed Zoe – let me know how he goes – sounds just like my girl.

    #17898

    zoe9
    Participant

    Oh that’s brilliant news Clair – good for her !

    Meanwhile wouldn’t you know it but I now have a big male who isn’t a strong flyer either. He hatched on Sunday and is still here. His wings are perfect but he can’t seem to get too far off the ground and ends up landing on the grass. I’m keeping him in a netted off area at the moment until he gets his strength up to fly properly, cause I’d hate for him to end up on the footpath or road.

    I do hope he will be able to fly off on his own because he’s so big and beautiful and it’d be such a shame if he ends up confined to my garden instead of up there in the sky and trees where he should be. Fingers crossed !

    #17896

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Update – my “non-flyer” finally went yesterday, 8 days after hatching. When I went to feed her, she was not interested, but seemed much stronger, flapping her wings and not stumbling. So I took her out and off she went:)))

    How is your girl, Aimee?

    #17855

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks Zoe and Swansong for the honey tips. I’m using manuka honey like you Swansong, I’ll try it stronger. Yes, I did throw her into the air – she flapped the first time, and then crashed. The second time she just crashed, so then I have been worrying that she was injured, so I haven’t tried that again for fear of making matters worse.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed she is just a slow developer. I have at least one butterfly hatching every day now – I need sun! Unfortunately the outlook is pretty bleak.

    #17840

    Swansong
    Participant

    “(hi Swansong!) Good honey tips there.”
    Hi zoe howz it going? yes the honey I’m using is the real nice rich natural dark brown stuff. Had it for years actually. It came in a green container and made by Arataki …. but the type has worn off the label but I think its manuka. I always preferred this as it was, as I say, the most natural.

    Its a good idea to keep an eye on their abdomen. Usually when they 1st hatch, its nice and full and rounded, and is a good indicator for future reference on whether they are likely to be hungry or not. I’ve found as they feed, they can get back to having that nice rounded look. Sometimes me thinx they can even pig out a bit… seriously, animals are all different and I know some of the sheep Ive had are as different as chalk and cheese, not only personality-wise but in their metabolisms too …

    Swansong

    #17839

    zoe9
    Participant

    Hi Clair and I’d be interested to hear if your girl turns out to be a total non-flyer too. Have you tried throwing her into the air to see if she at least flaps her wings?
    Not sure about the stumbling though. My guy was steady on his feet and able to sit happily on the lavendar bush, although I think as far as plants go lavendar is an easy one for them to grip to.
    Meanwhile regarding the food situation I see Swansong has replied (hi Swansong!) Good honey tips there. With my butterflies I offer them fresh flowers and I also make up a sugar/water mix. I use one part sugar to four parts water and they seem to like this. Some sit there and feed for ages. It’s really cute to watch especially if they wave their proboscis around in the liquid like it’s a little elephant trunk.
    Anyhow Clair (and Aimee!) I hope your girls are just ‘slow developers’ and will be able to fly. If not you may have them around for a while like I did with my boy last year. If you do I have one piece of advice and that’s try not to get too attached (although that’s easier said than done I reckon!)

    #17836

    Swansong
    Participant

    Sometimes they like to feed twice a day and sometimes not at all. I’ve found that my butterflies Ive had to keep around for one reason or another invariably likes just water as well as honey and water mixes. Ive even taken to putting straight honey on my dried bullrush stick after soaking the tip off it in water. Ive seen them go straight for the pure honey and stay there for ages! …even if I drop droplets of water over the honey they still tend to stay on the 100% stuff.

    My 2 cents

    #17833

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I also have a non-flyer, a beautiful perfectly formed girl. She hatched on Monday night and I kept her inside with 3 others until yesterday because the weather has been dreadful. I fed them all honey water because they totally ignored the cut flowers (hebes and buddleia) I have in their enclosure, and they were not at all active – just hung on the net, occasionally opening and closing their wings. It was sunny although a bit cool yesterday, so I took them outside at lunchtime. 3 immediately flew up into the trees, but this one just sat on the bush where I put her. When I came home from work last night, the others were gone but this one was still on the bush. I brought her in for the night. I’ve tried her outside again today, but no go. It’s too cold for me to feel comfortable about leaving her outside. If I put her on an inside plant she sort of stumbles and just falls to the ground. She seems only to want to hang from the netting. I also wondered how often I should feed them, so thanks Zoe, I’ll do it twice a day – is 10% about right, or should I up it?

    #17832

    zoe9
    Participant

    Hi Aimee

    I’ve had a few butterflies who also took a while to fly. It’s like they just don’t have the energy to get going, so I’d make sure they were well-fed and were out in the sun and eventually they all took off.

    Although last March I had a very unusual boy. He hatched and was beautiful. He was bigger than normal and his wings were perfect but he wouldn’t fly and I couldn’t figure out why because he was perfectly formed. He sat on my lavendar bush in the sun and I was feeding him twice a day so it can’t have been lack of energy. Rather he just didn’t know what to do. I tried to get him started by throwing him into the air in the hope that he would flap his wings, but he’d just dive bomb straight to the ground. I tried this a couple of times without success so stopped.

    He then spent the next 3 plus months living on my lavendar bush. I’d check on him regularly and continued to fed him twice a day. Sometimes I’d find him on the ground near the bush but mostly he’d just sit in the sun on the lavendar with his beautiful big wings outstretched.

    If the weather was bad I’d bring him in, and as he got older and we got further into winter I’d bring him inside at nights. Each morning (weather permitting!) he’d be back out on the lavendar bush

    I’m not sure how old he was at the end because I stopped counting after he reached 12 weeks, but when he finally died I was horribly upset because I was so used to having him around. I may have even shed a tear – but ssh, don’t tell anyone that!

    Meanwhile it remains a mystery as to why a perfectly formed butterfly did not know how to fly. If anyone has any theories I’d love to hear them.

    Hopefully Aimee your girl just needs to get her strength up and she’ll be off soon. That she’s flapping her wings is a good sign, because my boy didn’t do that at all.

    Will you let us know how you get on?

    #17830

    Gilly
    Participant

    Was it a warm day Aimee? Put her on some flowers in the sun and see what happens… hope she flies off 🙂

    #17829

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Gosh Aimee, not sure about this one! I would pick her some flowers and put here on those though – best thing to feed butterflies is nectar-filled flowers. Hebes are great, so is Bottlebrush if you have that. Or common garden weeds like dandelion etc. Cosmos and zinnia if you’ve still got them around.

    Jacqui

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