WHAT a LAZY ‘pillar !!!

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  • #13102

    Swansong
    Participant

    I have a big FAAAAT pillar who was toooo lazy ( and Ive told him so) to even try and spin a dot and he is parked up right out on the furtherest edge that you could imagine, on the very corner of the flap of my box. I got a reasonably good side view look and yup, hanging on by his last 2 claws NO sign of silk anywhere. :-|

    I need to go into town tomorrow a.m and if he tries to chrysalize then!!! Looks like I’ll have to transfer him to a surrogate dot anywayz.

    Swansong

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  • #17562

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hey good on you clair!

    Oh yes the pillars can get VERY ratty with the little trails of fine webbing they leave all over the swanplant. Ive seen them get extremely annoyed at this.

    “They are now healthy looking chrysalises”
    Thats wooonderful. Just a tip about the “lodged skin” Be VERY careful about freeing it if you feel you need to immediately do it for some reason. Usually though it would be safer just to leave it there until the chrysalis shell properly hardens.

    I do realize some of my explanations may not have been very clear but sometimes these things are hard to put into words. Boy if a had a digital Cam I could’ve posted many pictures by now, where a picture is worth 1000 words.

    Also what dawned on me, is, if this is your 1st lot of butterflies coming on, then of course you wont have any “spare dots” at the mo.

    Just to add, not all pillars will make “extra dots” that can then become potential “surrogate dots” in fact most do not. I do have “spares” from last year. Its also a bit of a challenge to get the cremaster out of an existing one. In fact thats something I need to try coz from memory Ive always had access to a “spare” unused one. I tried taking the cremaster out of a dot a couple of days ago, and basically almost wrecked the dot. The cremaster actually has a hook on the tip and the new chrysalis, as part of all the “action”, will twist in circular movement, with the dual purpose of 1/trying to ditch his skin, and 2/ allowing the cremaster tip to get more securely wedged in. As such I shall do some experimenting with this to see what I come up with. The cremaster is actually quite brittle so I might try squeezing it with some tweezers of similar.

    I’ll report back about this sometime.

    Cheers, and I hope you really enjoy your 1st hatchings. It is really neat. Oh just in case you dont know what to expect if youve never seen a hatching before, dont worry when the butterfly 1st hatches. I know I freaked out coz I thought the butterfly was malformed, when in fact I didnt know that they pump fluid into their wings and their wings will literally grow to their proper length in as quick as 1 or 2 minutes in hot temps. It’ll be a bit longer now like even 10 -15 minutes especially if you are in a cooler climate.

    Swansong

    #17558

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Swansong, you’re a champ! Thanks so much for taking the time to help. I did it! A bit stressful – such poor helpless little things.

    I couldn’t find a single surrogate dot. My fatties didn’t seem to do those – they just wandered up, down and around the plants spinning fine threads like cobwebs, sometimes being a real nuisance by wrapping threads around pillars in J. I suspect the ones that J’d without making dots were the starving ones given to me to feed a couple of days earlier – perhaps a bit weaker because of inconsistent food supply?

    I couldn’t get either the wool or the cotton to hook around the back claws by itself, but I used a tiny bit of glue on the wool and that worked. They are now healthy looking chrysalises, although one still has its skin attatched on the side.

    So I’m now waiting for my first butterfly – very exciting!!
    clair

    #17495

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Clair,
    Thats good you find lotsa good help from many knowledgeable people here as I do too. A dot [ in my mind : ) ]= the little lump of white silky cobwebby stuff the pillar will make to hang onto when he makes a J. A surrogate dot is basically a “second hand” one that has been either already used, ( with the wee black “stick” called a cremaster, which needs to be taken out) OR hasn’t been used at all because sometimes a pillar will make 2 or even accasionally 3 of these in preparation for where he will hang. I find these everywhere on various things I have inside from sticks to cardboard boxes to dried gypsophila in my dried arrangement, where I encourage my pillars to hang.

    Now, if you dont see any sign of this dot where a J is, the chances are he hasn’t made one, or made a very small one. SOmetimes they can get away with a small one and sometimes not, depending where they are. If theyre outside and theres lots of wind, its likely he will be blown off. Fallen J’s’ can successfully chrysalize but its hit and miss as to whether the final outcome will be OK. The butterfly may have difficulty hatching or the chrysalis may be damaged where the butterfly will be deformed, or may go black and die. Its best to immediately pick up a chrysalis and hang it up, if its unhardened as you will impr0ve his chance of success. You need to be fairly careful that you dont touch or drop the soft chrysalis. I would “hook” it (via its cremaster) onto some slightly buffed up wool thread and then gently hang it somewhere. Theres much info on all this in various threads.

    To transfer a ‘pillar is only something you should do if you HAVE to. Gently pick up/ take the pillar from where he is, and gently hold him in a position that is like you see other J’s hanging. You need to gently push his bottom end onto the the white dot, usuing your other hand as a cup under him incase you haven’t done it right, and he falls, and it may take a wee bit of practice to get your confidence. Give it a go. Now try and look at other J’s and you will see the dot isn’t just a round uniform shape. Depending on the angle the pillar is to hang he will shape the dot differently. The one I used yesterday was made in a slight wedge shape with the point angled to where I hung the pillars underside….if you know what I mean. This is difficult to explain without a diagram, but by looking at other ones you will learn a lot.

    Hardened chrysalis’ are OK in the lying position but I like to think, sooner or later you need to hang them up so the sooner the better. Theres also a wad of info within the forum of ways to hang up a fallen chrysalis.

    Now, in the event you cant find a “surrogate” dot, I would just buff up some woollen thread but for a newbie a slightly buffed up cotton bud would be easier and just twirl it under his most rear claws until you feel he has “hooked” onto to the fibres, then find somewhere to wedge the cottion bud hanging the pillar not too far away from a plastic surface in case he/or new chrysalis falls.

    HTHS
    Swansong

    #17491

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Sounds like you two may be able to help me. Yesterday evening I had 3 pillars in J that didn’t look well attached, but I didn’t know anything about surrogate dots so I left them 🙁 Not good. Half an hour later I noticed one of those had disappeared – found a new chrysalis at the bottom of the plant quite flattened by the fall. An hour later the other 2 pillars had dropped and were found tightly curled. I didn’t know what to do, so I put them on a facecloth and just spent the evening feeling really sad. To my surprise, this morning I found one chrysalis on the facecloth – it looks fine at this stage. So now, after it has hardened, should I hang it or just leave it lying there?

    Please tell me how to do surrogate dots so I can save any others who don’t attach well. 3 more were J’d this morning, and another 20+ look like they will any minute.

    Thanks folks, this is a wonderful forum. These are my first pillars and I had no idea there were so many pitfalls.
    clair

    #17489

    Swansong
    Participant

    Update on my Lazy Lump. I xferred my pillar to a surrogate dot, and there was no sign of anything happening before I went off to bed last night. I get up this a.m. to find he’s all good and had turned into a chrysalis in the wee small hours as it was well formed into its final shape. He does still have his skin to one side though, so when his shell hardens I’ll risk prising it free.

    Swansong

    #17458

    zoe9
    Participant

    Silly lazy fat thing. I don’t know why some of them do this but it drives me crazy!

    I can also relate to the “have to go out but don’t really want to cause what if he changes when I’m out and needs help” scenario.

    I’ve actually been due somewhere and phoned to say I’ll be late because I’m waiting on pillars to do various things and don’t want to leave till I know they’re safe. Fortunately for me it’s usually only going to my mothers and she’s well used to my excuses (although I imagine she still thinks they’re a bit insane!)

    Anyhow good luck with this lazy fattie. I hope he’ll be alright. It’s such a shame to lose them when they’re that big I reckon.

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