Romy McCloskey is a costume designer that uses her skills in some rather unique ways. She is a master of embellishments and embroidery but on one particular summer day, she was able to use it in a way that even surprised her. When she found a Monarch butterfly that had a broken wing, she used them to save her life.
As it turns out, McCloskey has a special love for Monarch butterflies. Many people raise them from caterpillars and release them as a hobby to try to save the species. McCloskey found a few caterpillars in her yard and decided to try her hand at the hobby as well.
The butterfly was only 3 days old when she discovered it had a broken wing. She decided to repair the injury, which happened while it was emerging from the chrysalis. The injury was so severe that it would not be able to fly because they need symmetry to stay airborne. Considering they only live for as long as 6 weeks as a butterfly, they are no longer growing when they become adults.
The artist used a delicate touch and instructions from a video to care for the injured butterfly. “I figured, since I do so much designing, cutting, and putting together of costumes… I could give this a go.”
Here is what happened:
“The patient. Sweet boy had damaged upper and lower wings.”
The patient. Sweet boy had a damaged upper and lower wings.
“The operating room. Towel, scissors, tweezers, talc, contact cement, toothpick, and my sweet girl who died earlier last week (for wings)”
The operating room. Towel, scissors, tweezers, talc, contact cement, toothpick and my sweet girl who died earlier last week (for wings.)
“Securing the little guy down with the bent hanger, as I cut away the damaged pieces. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt. It’s like trimming hair or nails.”
Securing the little guy down with the bent hanger, as I cut away the damaged pieces. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt. It's like trimming hair or nails.
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“Ta-da! He’s finished! You can see that the black lines on his upper right wing don’t match up 100%, and if you look at his lower right wing is missing the black dot that indicates male gender. Oh, and the white on his wing is the talc used to make sure any stray glue doesn’t make the wings stick together.”
Ta-da! He's finished! You can see that the black lines in is upper right wing don't match up 100%, and if you look at…
“A quick spin around the backyard, then a little rest on one of the bushes… then… like the down of a thistle… off he flew! My heart soared with him, for sure!”
You can see how to repair Monarch butterfly wings in this video. If you have patience and a steady hand, you can take care of these delicate creatures.
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