Romy McCloskey, a Texan woman with an independent costuming business, started raising monarch butterflies last October when she found several caterpillars on her milkweed bush. At first, she just kept them in a glass tank and made sure they were fed but, as she researched more about the needs of monarch caterpillars, she was able to give them more specialized care. But her recent generation was her most challenging yet; one of her butterflies hatched from its cocoon with a damaged wing.
She was initially “heartbroken” at the idea of having to euthanize the butterfly, but delighted when a friend sent her a video on repairing wings. “I figured, since I do so much designing, cutting and putting together of costumes…I could give this a go,” she said, in one of her Facebook posts on the subject. “And I’m really glad I did!”
Her butterfly surgery was a delicate operation. While she usually works with fabric, her prosthetic wing was made with a wing from a butterfly who died a few days earlier. She used tweezers to manipulate the wing into place, contact cement to stick it on, and talc to make sure any extra glue didn’t stick the wings together. And, although she used a wire coathanger to hold the butterfly down, she didn’t need to give it anesthesia. As McCloskey told Bored Panda, “They do not have pain receptors.”
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