Depending which season they’re born, Monarch butterflies may live from 2 weeks to around 5 months, but this little guy’s time was in danger to be reduced even shorter. Fortunately, Romy McCloskey was there to help. “I fell into raising butterflies by accident when I found 3 caterpillars on a bush in my front yard,” she shared. So when one of her butterflies was wounded, Romy felt she was required to help. McCloskey transformed her house into a surgery room and utilized ordinary household objects to carry out the surgery.
“I have always had a love for butterflies,” she shared. “They have a very personal meaning to me. Before my mother died, almost 20 years ago, she said to me, ‘Romy, whenever you see a butterfly, know that I’m there with you, and that I love you.’”
Romy McCloskey is a successful costume designer and master hand embroiderer, so this task was just right for her. Her provisions included a wire hanger, a towel, a toothpick, contact cement, a cotton swab, talc powder, tweezers, scissors, and an additional butterfly wing from one of her tiny girls that passed away a couple of days before.
“[P.S.] 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 infect 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.”
Check out the pictures below and see how the surgery went!
“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”
Before You Go…
Please check out our friends at Best Friends Designs. Contribute to a great cause while getting a beautifully designed t-shirt. Every item sold on their website will count towards a monthly donation to help rescue efforts and shelter animals in need.
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