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Dehydrated Butterfly Chrysalis
A butterfly chrysalis can easily dehydrate in airconditioned and/or heated buildings. Air conditioning and heating removes moisture from the air. Butterfly chrysalises need humidity.

To prevent dehydration, spritz or dunk your chrysalis with/under water a couple of times a day!

Chrysalises breathe through spiracles in their sides. A good dunk under water will not harm them. If so, a heavy rain would kill many chrysalises in the wild.
dehydrated chrysalis
dehydrated chrysalis
Dried out Red Admiral chrysalis
Dehydrated Red Admiral and Julia chrysalises
It's a sad sight. A butterfly chrysalis colors up, ready to emerge, and never emerges. It looks like it is ready but stays that way for days on end. Eventually you pick it up and it is as light as a feather.

Air conditioners and heaters dry out the air, removing humidity as they cool or heat. Chrysalises indoors are especially prone to dehydration. Outdoors, in drought conditions, a chrysalis can dry out and die.

To prevent dehydration, either:
a) Keep the chrysalis on or near a living plant or
b) Dunk the chrysalis under the water faucet twice a day or
c) Spritz the chrysalis with water twice a day.

The photos above are of chrysalises which were shipped to a customer. They were stored in a garage in our early spring Florida drought while the family waited for them to emerge. After a few weeks, the chrysalises were returned (which we greatly appreciate) for us to look over. The cause of their death was immediately apparent. They were as light as a feather, totally dehydrated to the point that they were preserved. We broke off one side of the chrysalis shell to reveal the fully developed butterfly inside.