Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis

Monarch butterfly chrysalis photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

We hope that you can see the exquisite detail of this Monarch Butterfly chrysalis (pupa).

The craftsmanship of the covering that encases the chrysalis is of the highest caliber. This covering is made of a material named chitin. Chitin is a slightly altered sugar molecule that is especially strong and durable. Amazing…take a sugar molecule, alter it slightly, and it can be used to form a tough cover that can withstand the elements.

What is going on within the chrysalis covering?

What material makes up that white bond that connects the chrysalis to the plant stem that it’s joined to?

How much is known about how the changes taking place inside the chrysalis are controlled?

You’ve probably seen these when you were a child. How much more do you know about them now?

Jeffrey

3 thoughts on “Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis

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  3. Interesting…..I looked up Chitin and found out some fascinating uses for this material…Uses..thanks

    [edit]Agriculture
    Most recent studies point out that chitin is a good inducer for defense mechanisms in plants.[5] It has also been assessed as a fertilizer that can improve overall crop yields.[6] The EPA regulates chitin for agricultural use within the USA.[7] Chitosan is prepared from chitin by deacetylation.
    [edit]Industrial
    Chitin is used in industry in many processes. It is used as an additive to thicken and stabilize foods and pharmaceuticals. It also acts as a binder in dyes, fabrics, and adhesives. Industrial separation membranes and ion-exchange resins can be made from chitin. Processes to size and strengthen paper employ chitin.[citation needed].
    Also, there is potential for applications in solar cells and cell phone screens; when chitin is treated in hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide and ethanol to strip the material of minerals, proteins, lipids, fats and pigments, and supplemented with acrylic resin monomer, a clear product results. Crushed and spread into a nanocomposite film it forms a useful component for solar cell and cell phone screens.[citation needed]
    [edit]Medicine
    Chitin’s properties as a flexible and strong material make it favorable as surgical thread. Its biodegradibility means it wears away with time as the wound heals. Moreover, chitin has some unusual properties that accelerate healing of wounds in humans.[8]
    Occupations associated with high environmental chitin levels, such as shellfish processors, are prone to high incidences of asthma. Recent studies have suggested that chitin may play a role in a possible pathway in human allergic disease. To be specific, mice treated with chitin develop an allergic response, characterized by a build-up of interleukin-4, expressing innate immune cells. In these treated mice, additional treatment with a chitinase enzyme abolishes the response.[9]

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