Helping Butterflies with crumpled wings

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  • #15253


    I’ve had a few monarchs hatch today and it seems like they have fallen from their chrysalis and their wings haven’t straigtened out properly. Not sure why this has happened perhaps it wasn’t warm enough outside?

    Is there anything that I can do to help their wings straigthen out? I was checking them all morning, waiting for them to hatch so I think that I got to them quite quickly and have put them into a sunny place.

    Any ideas?

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  • #51267


    One of my butterflies has two crumpled wings. I will watch to see if anything changes for him, but I read your post, so if it doesn’t at least I know how to euthenase, makes me want to cry.



    Hi jenh,

    It’s interesting that you should say that because one flew away on the first day – it must have been able to fly a reasonable distance because I couldn’t find it anywhere.

    The other one I kept inside for a few days and everyday I have taken it outside for some sunshine. It can fly a few metres, and today it must have flown away while it was outside. I didn’t have the heart to euthanise it, and I was expecting it to stay with me for longer.



    Before you decide to euthanise, see if it can fly even a short distance. I had one guy emerge on Saturday in a cramped spot and he ended up with a somewhat crinkled wing. When I picked him up to inspect the wing, he flapped and took off! Sort of wobbly flight path, but he made it to the flower patch in the neighbour’s yard and he’s been back several times to visit.



    Thanks, I’ll remember that. It’s the first time that it’s happened. I am beginning to think that some of my caterpillars might have a disease because I have had a few of them randomly die. They turn dark and then die. I wasn’t sure if it’s because I have moved them into a sheltered area outside but perhaps they don’t get enough sun?



    If you position something for them to climb on if they fall, you will have less failures to deal with.

    I was shocked to see how many failures there were in a breeding box in a ‘professional’ butterfly house. A dollars worth of strategically placed string would have meant visitors would seldom see new butterflies splattered on a flat surface.



    Thanks for that. It’s a shame that there is nothing I can do to help them. One of the butterflies is tiny though, it came from a caterpillar that made it’s chrysalis too early. The other one is perfectly formed apart from it’s wings. I don’t like the idea of euthanising but I have had to do it once in the past for a butterfly that hatched with completely shrivelled wings from not being able to get out of it’s chrysalis quickly enough.



    There’s nothing really you can do, Rebecca, if the wings have “set” in a crumpled position.

    I have had Monarchs with buckled wing tips and have trimmed both wings to eliminate the bent bits, with some success, but otherwise there’s not much else you can do. I know of some people who have taken a straight wing off a dead Monarch, cut off the faulty wing, and then glued the new wing in place – but it’s time consuming, fiddly and in fact the Monarch with the buckled wing is probably like that because it wasn’t strong enough to exit the chrysalis quick enough or properly – weak often because it has a heavy burden of disease, and that frequently happens at this time of the year.

    My advice is to euthanase and my preferred method (others have other ways) is to put it in a container in the freezer, where its system will shut down.

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