Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Defects of White Peacock Butterflies

colored chrysalis for blog

A White Peacock chrysalis becomes transparent before the butterfly emerges. The paper thin chrysalis allows you to see the intricate patterns on the wings. The abdomen, wings, eyes, and antennas are all visible. This healthy butterfly will soon push its way out and hang while its wings dry.

dead butterfly in chrysalis close up

Not all butterflies will have the strength to push their way out of the chrysalis covering. This chrysalis cracked open, but the butterfly never came out. I waited two days to be sure it was dead.


After removing the chrysalis covering, the fully developed butterfly was revealed.


Some butterflies make it out of the chrysalis, but then fall before their wings are completely dry. This can cause major deformities of the wings. If the butterfly’s wings are bent too much the butterfly will be unable to fly. Injured butterflies become a meal for lizards, birds, spiders, and other creatures.


This butterfly had an enlarged abdomen causing it to get stuck in the chrysalis. With my help it finally got out, but it was too late. This butterfly as a result has majorly deformed wings. To date, I have lost twelve butterflies from the 150 caterpillars I raised, because of defects in their development or falling after they emerged.

A Healthy Emergence of White Peacocks

emerging butterfly for blog

As a butterfly begins to exit from the chrysalis, a crack can be heard. The butterfly crawls out of the chrysalis and grips on to something nearby. Its wings are crumbled at first, but quickly lengthen by pumping fluid from it’s abdomen to it’s wings.


When the White Peacocks are ready for release, they begin to fly all about. I have released 97 healthy White Peacocks butterflies to date. I started this journey by breeding 5 White Peacocks in my butterfly pavilion. From the eggs the females laid, I was able to raise approximately 150 caterpillars. Now I am releasing those caterpillars that have turned into butterflies. The population of White Peacocks in our pesticide-free yard has greatly increased!

Raising and releasing butterflies will keep butterflies from going extinct as we destroy their habitats and build houses. You can help butterflies by planting host plants in your yards. Each butterfly species has a certain host plant it lays eggs on. Below are some plants that are eaten by butterfly caterpillars.

Host Plants

Monarch butterfly - Milkweed

White Peacock - Water Hyssop and fog fruit

Cloudless Sulphur - Cassia tree

Gulf Fritillary - Passion vine (purple flowers) . I use Passionvine, Inspiration.


48 days until my Costa Rica tour.

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