Depending what time of year they’re born, Monarch butterflies can live from 2 weeks to about 5 months, but this guy’s time was threatened to be cut ever shorter. Romy McCloskey committed to raising these creatures some time ago, and after one of them came into this world with a wing defect, she knew something had to be done. McCloskey turned her home into an operating room and used common household items to perform a wing transplant.
“I am a professional costume designer and master hand embroiderer,” she said. “This was right up my alley.” Her supplies included a towel, a wire hanger, contact cement, a toothpick, a cotton swab, scissors, tweezers, talc powder, and an extra butterfly wing from one of her little girls that died a few days before.
According to McCloskey, there’s no need to drug the butterflies when performing such a procedure. She compared their wings to human nails or hair: “They do not have pain receptors.”
Scroll down to check out 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”