Monarch butterfly chrysalis cremaster

How does a chrysalis hold on to the silk pad so tightly?  This greatly magnified view tells the story. Tiny hooks at the tip of the cremaster (the black ‘stem’ on a Monarch chrysalis) tangle tightly into the silk pad.  The twisting dance that a chrysalis does when it is through pupating is to work these tiny hooks into as many of the silk loops as possible.

A Monarch chrysalis cremaster is so tiny that we can’t see the tiny hooks that hold the chrysalis to its silk button.  These are scanning electron microscope images, taken of some of our Monarch chrysalises, by Illustra Media.

Shady Oak Butterfly Farm shipped empty chrysalis shells to Lad Allen in California for their movie, ‘Metamorphosis’.

Disinfecting leaves

Before we all enter into the 2018 butterfly season, let’s look at something that can help decrease OE and disease occurrence when we feed caterpillars indoors.

Many disease pathogens as well as OE spores are on leaves.  When a caterpillar eats a leaf, it ingests the pathogen.  At that point, the caterpillar is often infected with a crippling or fatal disease.

One step to preventing many infections is simple.  Disinfect the leaves before you feed them to your caterpillars.

How to disinfect leaves?  Check it out here. 




Do butterflies feel pain?

According to entomologists, butterflies do not feel pain.  Many of us keep our doubts simply because we see them react to touch.  They do feel!  But do they feel PAIN?

Do caterpillars writhe in pain response to insecticides?  They writhe, that is for sure. But why? Many insecticides act in a way that when a caterpillar is exposed to those insecticides, they will writhe.  They have no choice.  It affects neurotransmitters.

We’ve watched butterflies with missing abdomens (eaten by mice at night) fly and drink.  Other than falling on their faces when they land, due to the imbalance of weight, they ate totally normal.  Males with abdomens try to pair with females without abdomens.   (We added Grandma Kitty to the farm staff and she keeps mice from eating butterflies.  Go Grandma Kitty!)


Although we are not scientists that do this type of research, we have researched the topic and talked with lepidopterists, entomologists, pathologists, and other scientists about this topic.

After careful observation and discussion, we personally believe that they do not feel pain.  Many people disagree and we’re thankful that people do disagree.  It’s when we don’t agree that more research is initiated.  It is then that scientists communicate more.

Experiencing surgery while totally awake helped convince me.

Click here to read more about this topic.

All 208 pages are in order, finally!

Finally, pages are in order in the drop down menus.  I think.  If you see one obviously out of place, please let me know.



Now we’re working to insert photos into pages again.  As we do so, we’ll update all the information in the page.  THAT will take a lot of time.  We have 208 pages, not counting the divider A-Z pages (18 of them) and the duplicates that must be deleted.

Again, thank you for your patience.

This is NOT fun

As you visit this website, you’ll notice that the menu keeps changing.  As I add the pages to the proper area in the menu, they’ll be first located in the incorrect spot before I can place them in the correct spot a few minutes later.

Please don’t judge our website by the jumping menus and incomplete pages.  This will take a little while to finish but we want the information accessible to you as soon as possible.  This means you see the crazy jumping around.

Consider it proof that we’re working on the website.  Thank you for your patience.


Invisible pages?

Yes, THIS website has over 200 pages but you can’t see them.  If you are searching for a page, enter the topic into the search box and a list of pages with those words will show up. I’m working on getting a menu up that will show all the pages on the website.


David did his magic and you can now go to this website by typing in   The older website, will soon automatically go to this newer website.

It will take a few days to update all the pages.  We were able to copy/paste some of the pages (a little over 200) to this website, but it didn’t move the photos.  I must go in and upload each photo into the right page at the right spot.  That will take some time.

If you have a request for a page, please email me at