Fallen Chrysalis

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    Claire Bear

    What a great site!

    We returned from the supermarket today to find our fattest caterpillar had suddenly become a chrysalis, but it had fallen. There are a number of other caterpillars and the plant is almost bare so I wonder if someone could have eaten off his leaf? The chrysalis was wiggling a bit as though he knew something was wrong. Is there anything we can do? We've be battling wasps for weeks to get to this stage… :(

    Thanks all. :)

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    We have tons of wasps too. And ants.

    I love the Chrysalises too – the gold dots that go around it are just beautiful. I'm going to go and take some more photos of mine now. When I took the photos the dots were not gold yet and the green was lighter. They look stunning when they've darkened a bit and have their gold dots. 😀


    Claire Bear

    Hi Vicky,

    Thanks for your info: yes, the cotton did keep slipping off, so in the end I've rigged up something fairly complex with tweezers…. double sided tape would be much simpler next time!

    However, we now have another 4 perfect chrysalises – they are just beautiful!

    We're in Mt Eden. Plenty of wasps and praying mantises at our place 🙁

    Best wishes,




    If you have trouble getting the cotton on Claire, I sometimes put a wee piece of double-sided tape on the end of the cremaster, then wrap a little bit of cotton wool round that. Then its really easy to get the cotton on and hang them up (sort of replicates the silk). I like to hang mine when they're still wriggling, so they don't get any flat spots. This works really well with Admirals too – the cotton often slides off the end of their cremaster.

    Where are you from Claire?


    Claire Bear

    Oh thank you so much! …off I go with a piece of cotton.

    A few years ago we witnessed a swarm of Monarch's migrating – there were literally 100,000s – so many that you could hear their wings flapping from 100s of metres away. It was so easy to take them for granted during those summers.

    Now we're in the city I am determined to ensure a few butterflies extra get in to the world.

    I'll let you know how we go with this wee one. (Kids named him California because he was the supersized one of our bunch!).

    Thanks once again.



    I've managed to save many a fallen chrysalis… have even saved fallen J's… so don't give up hope!

    If it's on a hard clean surface I will wait for it to harden, then tie a piece of cotton to the little black hook at the top (cremaster), then gently lift it and string it up.

    For fallen J's I do something similar…
    I tie a piece of cotton to one of the rear feet of the J-caterpillar then string it up less than 1cm above a clean ceramic plate. When it sheds to turn into the chrysalis it drops down onto the plate. Once it has hardened I do the same as above.

    I've had a very high success rate doing this 😀
    Does anyone else have any other methods?



    Hello Claire

    This sometimes happens – if it as still wiggling, that indicates it had just made, and sometimes they don't have a strong enough hold onto the leaves so that when they turn into a chrysalis, they can become detached.

    There should be a little stem attached to his top end. Can you see that? This is called the cremaster. Let's hope that he has got a cremaster because that's going to mean helping it is much easier.


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