How to Know If a Caterpillar in a Cocoon Is Dead

Caterpillars, before turning into butterflies and moths, remain in a cocoon from a few days or weeks to even a few years for some drought-adapted species. If you are raising caterpillars that have formed a cocoon, you may understandably become anxious as to whether the caterpillars are still alive. Fortunately, you can follow a few simple steps to find out.

Beautiful moths and butterflies start off as caterpillars.

Step 1

Monitor the color of the cocoon. A cocoon from which a butterfly is about to emerge will either turn very dark or become clear. Overly dark cocoons, though, may point to death.

Step 2

Gently bend the abdominal region of the cocoon. If the cocoon bends and stays bent, the caterpillar is probably dead.

Step 3

Be alert if the cocoon does not stay bent. A butterfly is soon to hatch. Butterflies take only a few moments to emerge from their cocoons.