Romy McCloskey really loves butterflies. She decided to start raising these insects herself a while back, and she’s found joy in the work, recognizing their beauty and elegance, and wanting nothing more for them than to live a full and happy life.
One day McCloskey noticed something was wrong with one of her beloved insects, a three-day-old male monarch butterfly. Having emerged from its chrysalis, it was born defective and lacked a large portion of its right wing.
Feeling for the bug, McCloskey decided she was going to try and help it.
She knew if she didn’t do anything, the butterfly would not survive.
“I am a professional costume designer and master hand embroiderer,” McCloskey told Bored Panda. “This was right up my alley.”
She first gathered the necessary materials to perform a surgical operation on her patient. McCloskey even detailed the entire procedure in an Imgur album.
“The operating room and supplies: towel, wire hanger, contact cement, toothpick, cotton swab, scissors, tweezers, talc powder, extra butterfly wing,” McCloskey shared in the album, along with a picture of all the tools she would use.
McCloskey decided to try to surgically attach a replacement wing on the butterfly.
Luckily, McCloskey had kept a butterfly that had died a few days previously. Monarch butterflies themselves only live 2-6 weeks long.
The designer then trimmed the insect’s defective wing and carefully attached the new one with glue. For those wondering why she didn’t find it necessary to sedate the bug during the operation, she cheerfully explained how butterfly wings lack pain receptors.
“Don’t worry it doesn’t hurt them,” she explained. “It’s like cutting hair or trimming fingernails.”
The delicate procedure ended up going surprisingly well.
“With a little patience, and a steady hand, I fit the new wings to my little guy,” she said.
“If you notice, 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! (The white powder on his right wing is the talc used to neutralize any stray glue and prevent his wings from sticking together.)”
Now all that was left for McCloskey was to give the glue some time to dry and allow the butterfly to get used its newly completed wing. Soon after that, it was “flight day.”
“After a day of rest and filling his belly with homemade nectar, it is time to see if he will fly,” McCloskey said.
The procedure was a success!
“With a quick lap around the yard, and a little rest on a bush, he was off!” McCloskey shared. “A successful surgery and outcome! Bye little buddy! Good luck.”
And with that the little monarch butterfly flew off into the wild, likely to spend its days flying around and drinking nectar from a wide variety of local flowering plants. As for McCloskey, she’s looking forward to helping other butterflies that need her assistance in the future.
To check out more of the pictures from McCloskey’s album, click HERE.