So you have a chrysalis that isn’t hanging from anything. What do you do? Well, it depends on what kind of butterfly it is. I’ve found that Swallowtails and Buckeyes are pretty active when they first emerge from chrysalis, and so if you lay the chrysalis in a place where they’ll have an easy time to crawl up a vertical surface, where their wings have space to drop, they’ll usually be okay. I have small (12” square) mesh cubes, and I lay the Swallowtail and Buckeye chrysalises in the bottom, and the emerged butterflies crawl up the sides to the top on their own. Another approach is to push a piece of screen down into an old aquarium or fish bowl so that the screen covers the bottom and goes up all the sides. Lay the chrysalises in the bottom and the butterflies will crawl up the screen on the sides when they emerge.
But… in my experience, other butterflies, such as Monarch, Queen, and Zebra Longwings, aren’t as active when they first emerge, and are less likely to climb up on their own. In these cases, it’s best if the chrysalis is rehung. In fact, even with the Swallowtails and Buckeyes, it’s always best if the chrysalis is rehung, if you’re willing to take the time.
If enough of the original “silk” thread that the caterpillar spun to hang itself is left, you can tease this out (gently, with a pair of tweezers) and wrap it around a tack to rehang the chrysalis. If the original thread isn’t left, then the only way to rehang is gluing. Once the chrysalis is glued to something (I use cuts pieces of shoelace) you can use a tack to hang it from a branch, or a piece of wood, or the edge of a shelf, or just about anything. I have complete instructions on gluing chrysalises in this blog post: Gluing Chrysalises
It’s not at all hard. I’ve glued dozens of chrysalises with great results. Although I also lay Swallowtail and Buckeye chrysalises on the bottom of the 12 inch mesh cube and have great results,
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