It's been 15 days since the first butterfly emerged from its cocoon, healthy, and full of life. Yesterday, I was outside planting flowers in my pots, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw this:
I feel so upset over this butterfly, and I am not in a position to help it, but I searched the Internet, and on one of the butterfly forums I found what I will do the next time I get a deformed butterfly:
I used to keep crippled butterflies around and try to feed them, or place them on flowers in the yard. Then one day I went out to check on one of them, and found it being devoured by a wasp. No more of that. Kept them in the house for awhile longer, until the day I found one in spasms, trembling and shaking horribly. And there sat the spider that had bitten it, waiting. I had brought the spider in with the flowers. After consulting on this question with the lepidoptera curator at the Milwaukee Public Museum, I have concluded that it is cruel to keep a crippled creature in captivity. I now do what the curator does: immediately and without hesitation, I place them gently in the freezer, where they drift off as painlessly as possible. These are not companion pets or livestock. They are wild creatures. We could all debate which is the more or less humane thing to do, but I personally subscribe to "relieve them of their suffering." Butterflies were meant to fly. If they cannot, then they were meant to die. We do them little favor by keeping them alive, creeping and staggering for a meal.
Going forward, I will do the humane thing.
Here's hoping the three remaining cocoons produce healthy butterflies.