Butterfly with bottom wing over top wing

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    Topic
  • #61461

    poplarpark
    Participant

    I have a butterfly which has one of the bottom wings flicked over the top wing. No matter how often I reposition the wing so its under the top wing, it always flicks back to being on top. I give him flying lessons each day, but he just flutters and falls to the grass. Is there something I can do so the bottom wing stays permanently under the top wing enabling him to fly. Or is it a deformity. I’ve been feeding him for over a week now, but it would be great to see him fly off.

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #61477

    FiLeBeau
    Participant

    I remember reading this statement years ago as it touched me deeply
    – “Love calls: Love responds”.
    So that’s it isn’t it?!
    Your heart knows this! And your loving actions matter.
    Thank you for all you do.
    It’s been lovely to chat with another Friend of the Butterflies.
    Wishing you and your wards all the best
    Fiona

    #61476

    poplarpark
    Participant

    Well I do thank you for your kindness. I am such a softy when it comes to creatures. I do have two others in the castle with him. They have tiny crumpled wings, but as you say.. They are enjoying the vase of flowers and being in the sun.
    At least they get a few weeks to feel the sun on their backs.. I do love the butterflies and have 4 large and 4 small castles. Been a really good season for me but just these last few to look after.. your kind words made me feel ever so better. Thank you

    #61475

    FiLeBeau
    Participant

    Well thanks to your care he got to fulfil his hearts desire to fly!
    Really so kind of you.
    Such a pity his wing has since torn so high up near his body.
    To tell you the truth I don’t freeze any damaged Butterflies – only the sickly. I used to keep them in quarantine (in a new hen chalet) but saw it was too risky for the spread of disease.
    So these days I glue on wings, patch holes, tape wings, trim off or iron out twisted, folded or bent wings that are otherwise in good enough order. Sometimes if the new wing cracks again they fly back, or I see them in the garden- so I put another wing on!
    I currently have 15 injured but otherwise healthy Butterflies in castles sitting out in the sunshine. Some are waiting on surgery and some like your fellow are beyond my help. But they climb up and seem to enjoy the warmth – and their flowers and the honey soy water.
    I think most have had some unfortunate turn of events – fallen in the wind when their wings were soft and the wings were bent or broken. However most injuries I see are from bird attacks by imported birds – sparrows, thrushes and blackbirds. The native birds aren’t interested in them as a rule. Although I did see a Fantail have a go at pecking a Monarch – it turned into an aerial battle that the Monarch evaded with great speed.

    I do wonder if your Butterfly had an injury to his shoulder. I have had otherwise great looking Butterflies that can’t close their wings behind their backs – or persistently flip the top wing under – so I wonder if was a structural issue for your fellow. And/or perhaps the fracture in his wing was there but not initially visible.

    I must say I think you have done – and are doing- a wonderful service for this little soul.
    I say Good on You!!
    Fiona

    #61473

    poplarpark
    Participant

    Thank you again. I have raised hundreds again this Season, but have found the late ones seem to be weaker. I gave the butterfly some flying lessons again today and he flew so well.. I was delighted. So I picked him up off the lawn and put him in the hebe hedge, but this afternoon I see him fluttering again on the lawn and his top wing had actually torn right at where it joins to the body. I’ve cut the wing right back and the other side top wing to match and he can just see the days out on flowers and the sugar water etc. I hate freezing them when they are real active. Thank you for all advice.. so much appreciated.

    #61471

    FiLeBeau
    Participant

    Mmmm I’m not sure what may help. The little strip of paper face tape keeping the wings together might help him to get used to the wings stacked the right way. I do see some deliberately and persistently flick the top wing underneath the base wing – so this oftentimes helps break the habit. But only if that is what his problem is.
    I then pop them in a castle overnight to rest on a couple cotton t-shirts so their feet don’t get damaged. And with a flower or honey & soy sauce water.

    Good on you for helping thus little fellow.
    Best wishes
    Fiona

    #61469

    poplarpark
    Participant

    Thank you so much for the hints and remedies re the butterfly wings.
    None of the wings are deformed or crumpled, just as explained in my posting.
    I took him out for his “flying lesson” again today and he flew much better, but crash lands. I put him onto the purple hebe hedge where there are lots of Monarchs, but he just seems to sit and do nothing..I am still feeding him and so I’ll carry on and hopefully one day soon, he will surpise me and fly off for good. I just wonder if maybe the bottom wing became, what humans would term, “dislocated” and that’s why it keeps flicking to the top. Anyway – again many thanks for replying with all the useful information

    #61463

    FiLeBeau
    Participant

    Are the wings the standard shape or size?
    If the top wing is folded under or torn along the long edge then there won’t be enough top wing mass to stop the base wing sliding on top. That can also be the case if the top wing is not fully inflated or if it is just smaller proportionately to the other wings.
    I usually glue some tape (paper facial tape) to fix gaps or tears or add width or length, or use a mini iron to press out a folded under rim. These interventions are highly successful as a rule.
    If a top wing has been underneath for a while I note that some butterflies are used to that and will flip the top wing back underneath. In that case I attach a tiny slither of paper face tape to the rim of the top and base wing and press them together for the day until they get used to it. That has worked for several butterflies who adjust and can fly away.

    However I’m not sure if these issues or remedies might apply to your butterfly.
    But I wish him well.
    And I commend your care for him.
    Fiona

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