Woman Performs A Surgery On Injured Monarch Butterfly, Wakes Up To A Surprise The Next Day
Even insects sometimes need a little help from us, humans. Romy McCloskey, who raises Monarch butterflies in her garden, recently shared her experience on the one-of-a-kind surgery she had to perform on one of her little buddies that got his wings torn.
When all of the supplies, including contact cement, scissors, tweezers, and an extra butterfly wing from one of her little girls that died a few days before, was lined up on the table, McCloskey got to work. The procedure required a skillful eye and steady hand, which isn’t a problem for the woman as she works as a professional costume designer and master hand embroiderer when she’s not busy rescuing her tiny friends.
To anyone who’s worried about the little guy being in pain, McCloskey reminds that wings for butterflies are a lot like nails or hair for us, so you shouldn’t worry.
“I feel it is important to note that the butterfly sustained his injury during pupating into his chrysalis. It was not a genetic defect or deformity due to the Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE) parasite that fatally infects Monarchs. I did have a lot of people asking why I would ever introduce inferior or defective genes into the butterfly gene pool. I had to explain to many that I did not. In fact, any caterpillars or butterflies that are infected with OE or Tachinid fly (T-fly) larva must be euthanized to stop any further contamination in the Monarch population.”
Scroll down to see how the operation “save the butterfly” went down and what were the results.
“The patient: this 3-day-old little boy was born with torn upper and lower wings. Let’s see how we can help!”
“The operating room and supplies: towel, wire hanger, contact cement, toothpick, cotton swab, scissors, tweezers, talc powder, extra butterfly wing”
“Securing the butterfly and cutting the damaged parts away. Don’t worry it doesn’t hurt them. It’s like cutting hair or trimming fingernails”
“Ta-da! With a little patience and a steady hand, I fit the new wings to my little guy”
“The black lines do not match completely and it is missing the black dot (male marking) on the lower right wing, but with luck, he will fly”
“FLIGHT DAY! After a day of rest and filling his belly with homemade nectar, it is time to see if he will fly”
“With a quick lap around the yard and a little rest on a bush, he was off! A successful surgery and outcome! Bye, little buddy! Good luck”