Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Triumph! One Tragedy.

Yesterday evening, I noticed two chrysalises were changing color.  They are located in the corridor between our back door and back entrance to our house.  This small area is called the "Mud Room" by my wife.  Well, this morning, I awoke to a triumph and a tragedy.  Two Male Monarchs had indeed emerged, but one had fallen from its perch.  The fall damaged its abdomen which contains the fluid for the wings.  It couldn't manage to crawl back up to its perch.  Its wings were deformed.  It would never fly.  Even if I had been standing right there, I'm not sure if I could have saved it, since its abdomen was damaged in the fall.

(Male Monarch fallen from its perch.)

This raises a question I hear often.  What should you do if you know a butterfly is injured beyond recovery?  Is there a humane way to help end its suffering?  The answer is yes.  The most humane way is to put it in a container with an enclosed lid and place it in the freezer.  The cold slowly and gently puts them to sleep.  If you see they are suffering, this is the most humane way to end their pain. 

Believe it or not, there are a lot of emotions that well up when you lose a butterfly this way.  This is especially so if you have hand reared them, provided them a lot of care, and helped them to get to this point.  And, then, when they are so close to being a successful adult flying Monarch butterfly, so see them die this way is heartbreaking.  However, we still have nearly a dozen Monarchs remaining to emerge from this batch, not to mention three Queen butterflies on the way.  And let's not forget, one male Monarch made it this morning!  So, withstanding this tragedy, we still have a lot of exciting things to look forward to.

(One Male Monarch made it!)

Happy Monarching,

Caleb & Janae Warren

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