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Reattaching and attaching a Pupa or Chrysalis for Emerging


At Shady Oak Butterfly Farm, butterfly and moth pupae (chrysalises or cocoons) are removed from their rearing containers in the laboratory. They are taken to the pupae laboratory and sterilized before 'pinning'.

Some farmers do not hang their pupae upside down to emerge but simply glue them to a paper towel laying flat. When they emerge, they climb up the side of the container to fill and dry thier wings. Different farmers use different methods. Much of the choice is due to simple personal preferance.

At Shady Oak, we hang them upside down because their wings are so easliy damaged when they are soft. When they spend their first minute after emerging climbing up to hang, they are often climbing over other butterflies which have just emerged and may tear each others wings while they are so soft. We have not tested this theory, it is simply a theory.
Caterpillars lay a layer of silk. When they pupate, they attach themselves to the silk.
If the silk is attached, the chrysalis (pupa) can be 'pinned' through the silk.
If the silk is or is not attached,
chyrsalises (pupae) can be glued
to a paper towel or other item.
In our pupae laboratory, paper towels are wrapped around a board cut to fit emerging totes.
Glue dots from a low-temp
glue gun are placed
on the paper towels,
25 at one time.
After the 25th dot of glue
is placed, the first is cool
enough to place a chrysalis into.
The paper towel is marked with information about the pupae; date, use, etc.
The board is placed upside down in an emerging tote lined with paper towels. A vis-a-vis (erases with a wet paper towel) marker is used to mark the tote.
Butterflies emerge and hang
upside down to fill
and dry thier wings.
After their wings are dry,
they will be released to eat
and fly in a screened garden.
Chrysalises are 'pulled' (removed from rearing totes) three times per week.
After all butterflies have emerged, the paper towels are removed and thrown away. The board is sterilized for reuse.