Let’s start with the basic information about chrysalises, especially since the word may be unknown to younger readers. Unless you have already had a lesson in how a caterpillar changes to a chrysalis, you are about to learn many exciting things! We will do our best to keep it clear and simple so you have the information you need to find a chrysalis in a butterfly garden.
What is the Difference Between a Chrysalis and a Cocoon?
According to the Collins English Dictionary, the word ‘chrysalis’ means a “butterfly or moth in the special stage between a larva and an adult.” Do not mix the concept of chrysalis with the cocoon because these are two different things! Cocoons are only specific to moths, yet butterflies form chrysalises.
It is one of the most complex and extraordinary processes in nature, as the chrysalis is made of a thick layer of skin that is formed under the caterpillar’s surface or top layer. In basic terms, when the caterpillar is getting ready to enter the metamorphosis stage, it will spin a bit of special silk (just like a spider) that allows the chrysalis to attach itself to something and hang.
Once attached, the caterpillar finds its way out of its top layer of skin. This is where things get truly interesting!
How Long Is the Chrysalis Stage?
Most butterflies and moths tend to stay inside their chrysalis or cocoon for a period that lasts between 5 and 21 days! The length of time they spend in this state mostly depends on the time of year, species, and location. The butterflies and the moths seek ideal weather and environmental conditions to continue the process.
Finding the Chrysalis!
Finding a chrysalis in a butterfly garden is an excellent activity for all the family and a wonderful way to learn more about nature and butterflies. Before we continue, listen to this bright 4-year-old child who had the best of luck finding the chrysalis!
It is good to know that every chrysalis species we find is unique, just like each caterpillar! It is exactly the concept every chrysalis seeker must remember during the exploration.
Read more: How to Identify Butterfly Chrysalises
Where to Find Butterfly Chrysalis
The chrysalis can be found under the potted plants if you have any in your garden. These are often used because of their protective layer and relative safety from all predators.
If there are hanging pots, consider checking them as well. They can also be encountered at the bottom of the house or on roses that might hang against the walls. Still, the most popular places are secluded areas.
Once done with the plants, examine the fences, as this is also a popular place to look for chrysalises! The same relates to any garden statues or garden furniture. Check out the gate hinges and the window well (the area underneath), and don’t forget about the window screen. Be careful with your fingers, and always have an adult by your side to help you along!
Some people claim to find chrysalises in the birdhouses or even water supplies! The most important is to examine all those bits and pieces of the garden objects where there are protective places or areas where one can feel safe. It shows us how cautious caterpillars are before they proceed with the chrysalis stage!
What to Do with a Chrysalis that Has Fallen Down
You must be gentle and careful as you take it with a plastic spoon or a similar object. Start by removing all the webs that surround the chrysalis. Place the chrysalis on a piece of paper and then carry it to the butterfly garden (the natural habitat). It’s essential to position the chrysalis as close as possible to the edge of the natural habitat.
The adults will happily help you with that. The trick is to create a silky environment to let the chrysalis hang free. Some people even use glue, but we don’t recommend it because of its toxicity!
Now let the chrysalis hang. In a few days, you might be lucky to see the butterfly emerge.