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Should chrysalises be removed from enclosures that also contains caterpillars? Will caterpillars disturb chrysalises?

Caterpillars will not attack chrysalises unless they run completely out of all other food and are desperately hungry (though I have seen this happen). However, it’s very common for caterpillars in an enclosure to accidentally chew through a leaf that another caterpillar has formed a chrysalis on, so that the chrysalis falls inadvertently. This is more likely if you allow the food supply in the enclosure to get low, since if there’s plenty of food then the odds that a caterpillar will encounter a chrysalis are reduced.

I always remove chrysalises from feeding enclosures as soon as I notice them, but this doesn’t necessarily mean removing an entire plant. Especially if you need every bit of plant material to keep feeding the caterpillars that are still eating (as I usually do :). So what I do, if the chrysalis is formed on a leaf or near the end of a stem, is clip just the leaf or the stem, and then use a tack to hang the chrysalis by the leaf or stem in another place, not in the caterpillar enclosure.

Sometimes the chrysalis forms on a main stem where it’s not convenient to cut it out, because it would take out too much of the rest of the plant. In that case, you can remove the plant if that’s practical, or just leave it, because the feeding caterpillars are unlikely to chew a main stem and damage the chrysalis.

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