Caterpillar turning to chrysalis on ground. Help!

  • This topic is empty.
  • Creator
  • #14082


    Hi everyone,

    I have a lot of large caterpillars that are turning into J's. Yesterday it was very windy and 2 fell off the plants (2 seperate plants, both in pots). Each one was curled up in the bottom of the pot and I thought they might be dead. I checked this morning and they still were just curled up caterpillars, but when I just checked now, one has turned into a chrysalis. Will it form ok whilst lying on the ground? Or is it unlikely to survive? Is there anything I should do?

    I'd appreciate any advice!

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #23250


    Hi Emma

    Yes, it's a real thrill seeing that change isn't it. It still amazes and fascinates me.

    Welcome to you.




    Thanks again, The chrysalis are both now hanging from a bit over cotton, suspended by a pen over a glass. If anyone else has the same problem, I have sausages for fingers and it wasnt too hard so it's worth a try! However, my hands were shaking so much! All i can do now is hope the butterflies are ok!
    What an amazing day – I had 27 big caterpillars and I've watched heaps of them transform today! Magical! I grew the swan plants thinking it might be cool for my daughter to watch the life cycle, but I think I've got way more out if it than her! (although she is only 1!)
    Thanks again for the advice, it was very very useful!



    Thanks so much for your advice. Sounds like something I can try! I just went out and the second one is in the process of changing to a chrysalis, so I'll wait for it to finish then try and save them both. I really really appreciate your replies!



    I recently had to rescue a chrysalis that I found on the ground.

    I tie mine on to a pencil / pen using dental floss, then rest the pen over a clear drinking glass until the chrysalis starts to darken, then take it outside and tape it to a branch.

    Works a treat 🙂



    Hi Emma,

    I have a method for the Js that saves almost all of them… have just checked on one now and it's happily formed into a healthy chrysalis…

    I'll carefully pick up the fallen J and take it inside.

    I then take a piece of cotton thread, start to tie a knot and close the loop around one of it's hind legs.
    (this maybe fiddly for some, thankfully I have very small fingers)

    I then take the J, hanging by the thread, and suspend it very close (about 1cm) above a hard clean surface like a dinner plate.

    When transforming, the chrysalis usually falls off it's skin down onto the plate – though sometimes like the one today they will manage to attach themselves to the cotton thread knot.

    If you can catch it at the right moment when it has /just/ come out and fallen, you can tie a piece of cotton to the hook (cremaster) and string it up… it wriggles around a lot and is fiddly, but works.
    However, I usually leave them on the plate to harden and then tie the cotton to the hook and hang it up…
    Yes, this way the chrysalis will be flat on one side, but I find it to be fine… you'll see the same things happen when they attach themselves to a wall or window.

    For the ones that have already turned into a chrysalis on the ground, try the same thing and string them up; some may die from infection but it's worth a shot…
    I know cotton thread can be fiddly, some put tape around the hook and attach string to the tape which works too… I'd be reluctant to use tape on the Js though.

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.