Fallen chrysallis (cocoon)

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  • #47716


    I forgot to mention in my previous update that I had one cocoon fall off its leaf today. It is in a fairly advanced state as I can see the orange and black wings plainly inside. I picked it up in my hand and got a peg and attached its little ‘sticky’ end to an upright branch/twig of the milk plant. Should I have touched it? I thought I saw somewhere that you are not supposed to handle them at all.

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  • #47718


    Oh, and BTW I quite often don’t hang the pupae. I leave them on the inside of a netted cover similar to this:

    Food cover useful for fallen pupae

    If the chrysalis is touching the inside edge of the food cover then the butterfly as it emerges climbs up on the inside. I have raised hundreds using this method and have hardly ever had a failure. You can buy the covers at $2 shops.



    Hi Evie

    It’s best NOT to handle them as you never know what damage you’ll do. However, in some cases if you want to “save” one, then it will mean handling them. Just make sure your hands are absolutely clean and doesn’t have any cosmetics or pharmaceuticals on them, such as sunscreen.

    FYI The little sticky end is called the cremaster. And it’s a chrysalis not a cocoon. Moths (and one species of butterfly, I believe) in the pupal stage make cocoons when the caterpillar spins silk around themselves. With butterflies, as you will have seen, the skin of the caterpillar splits open and then a cuticle forms over the body. That’s when the pupa is referred to as a ‘chrysalis’.

    There is some great knowledge shared in the glossary HERE.

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