Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Butterfly surgery

I'm fairly certain she is not a Buddhist, just fond of butterflies. Branduin Wiens of Moline, Illinois (1st image), raises them in a small nursery at her home. When a male monarch recently emerged from his chrysalis, most of his left wing was torn off (2nd image). “Since he couldn’t fly, I figured I would just keep him in my butterfly garden on the flowers and eventually let nature take its course. It was sad, though, because this little boy should have been headed down to Mexico for the winter,” says Brandy. That night she read a posting about wing repair on a butterfly website and knew she had to try. She obtained a donor wing from a cadaver butterfly at the Quad City Botanical Garden in nearby Rock Island. Then she laid out her instruments: tweezers, toothpicks, scissors, and 2 kinds of glue (3rd image). Brandy "anesthetized" the patient by turning off the light, knowing that thinking it was nighttime would calm him. Holding him in place gently with the hook of a coat hanger (4th image), she applied 2 coats of Permatex from an auto supply store. The butterfly flapped and wouldn't stay still, so she switched to Loctite and restrained him with toothpicks. Working beneath a spotlight, she used thin-bladed scissors and tweezers to replace the damaged wing, dusted the area with cornstarch, then waited the 6 minutes for the glue to dry. After the operation, she carried the butterfly outside (5th image), uncertain whether the transplant succeeded. But her video shows the patient fluttering away. “He took off as if nothing was wrong and headed south....I hope the little fellow makes it,” says the surgeon. Hopefully he has now joined the other migrants and will live for 6-8 months like the rest of his September generation.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing. She has a big heart for butterflies. Great story! Dawn Suitcase Vignettes


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