If you have been following my posts, you know my population has been plagued with Oe this season. I wonder if this is another symptom you experienced raisers have seen: easily startled butterflies.
I raise the B's in net cages in my dining room. In seasons past, I could just walk into the room normally. Now, I find myself creeping in. If I walk in normally, a B might drop off its C.
This year, when I carry the cage outside to release them, they often flutter about. In years past, the B's would hang onto the walls or ceiling of the cage, sedately opening and closing their wings, patiently waiting to be brought out on my finger, and then soaring up to the top of a tree. If a B wasn't ready, he'd just sit on my finger, and then I'd put him back in the cage for a couple more hours. This year, some B's will jump off my finger even when they aren't quite ready to fly.
1) Some nerve damage from Oe leading to lower startle threshold
2) Weakness in legs or the tarsi (foot grippers). So healthy butterflies startle too, but they don't fall off their perches.
I know what you'll ask: Do these jittery B's test positive for Oe? I don't know. I still have frozen B's with crumpled wings and bad chrysalides waiting to be tested. Several B's eclosing per cage per day. I'm not up to testing each B and noting signs/symptoms. Heck,this year, I haven't even been able to keep count of the ones that fly off strong and healthy.
Just wondering if you have noticed this symptom.