Introduction: Catch a Cockerfly

Picture of Catch a Cockerfly

A cockerfly is a member of the insect family that is best described as a cross between a cockroach and a butterfly. Its official species name is Noahivius Weinsteinicus. This name was derived by adding a whole bunch of Latin-sounding things to the name of its initial discoverer, Noah Weinstein.

Very few living specimens of the cockerfly are known to exist. As such, very little information is available about the insect. One thing that us scientists know for certain is that while the standard cockerfly can withstand large doses of nuclear radiation, they are extremely fragile creatures and are brittle to human touch.

The cockerfly's natural predator is the domesticated cat. Predation accounts for their low population numbers as cockerflies are only found in highly urbanized areas populated by abnormal amounts of domesticated cats. Unsuccessful efforts have been taken to increase their population numbers by breeding them in captivity. Despite their best efforts, scientists were unable to set the mood to encourage mating amongst cockerflies. Scientists' spouses were not surprised.

On account of people's love of cats, and scientists always showing up to ruin the mood, it is likely that the cockerfly may go extinct in our lifetime. They are currently on the list of endangered species. In spite of rapidly dwindling populations, very few people are upset.

Considering that the continuation of the species is pretty much a lost cause, follows are instructions on how to help accelerate the extinction of the cockerfly through the acquisition and preservation of your very own specimen.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

Picture of Go Get Stuff

You will need:

A scalpel
Dental picks
#2 insect pins
A sealable jar
A refrigerator
A roach problem
A dead butterfly
Krazy Glue
A cardboard surface
The ability to hold your breath

(note: this will not work if you own a domesticated cat)

Step 2: Acquire a Cockroach

Picture of Acquire a Cockroach

Before you can preserve a cockerfly, you will need to acquire a garden variety cockroach to use as reference.

Cockroaches can easily be found in offices located above restaurants and any apartment in Manhattan.

Catch an adult cockroach and place it in a sealable container. For this I used an empty salt shaker.

Step 3: Euthanize the Cockroach

Picture of Euthanize the Cockroach

Kill the cockroach by placing it in the freezer. After two to three hours in the freezer, it should be good and dead. Take it out of the freezer and remove the cockroach from the container. Be careful handling it as not to damage it.

(Note: Dr. G says you should always wash your hands after handling cockroaches as they have been known to cause allergies.)

I covered the holes on the top of the salt shaker with a piece of painters tape after concern was raised about placing a cockroach in the freezer with a container that had holes in it. I highly recommend a fully sealable container to circumvent this problem.

Step 4: Pin the Roach

Picture of Pin the Roach

Pin the roach to your piece of cardboard such that it is held firmly in place (and if it accidentally wakes from the dead, it's not going to go anywhere). An ideal place to pin it is through the center of its body, just below its head. Be careful not to pin through its wings.

Step 5: Free the Wings

Picture of Free the Wings

Foremost, never touch a butterfly wings with your hands. It removes the coloration. Secondly, butterflies are very fragile. If you can avoid handling it by its wings, please do. Always use tweezers and dental picks to handle a butterfly.

That said, pin your butterfly down to the cardboard.

Using your scalpel, cut the wings free from the thorax such that a relatively sizable piece of thorax is left connected to the wing (for the time being).

Once both wings are free, remove as much of the remaining bits of the thorax as possible from the wing while leaving just enough thorax in place to still be able to grasp it with tweezers. An easy way to do this is to place pins around the perimeter of the wing at an angle, which acts to temporarily hold it in place while you cut.

Step 6: Attach the Wings

Picture of Attach the Wings

Look left. Now, look right. When you are sure no one is looking, Krazy Glue the wings onto the body of the roach (below the roach's wings).

This is a difficult, frustrating, and, at times, infuriating task. Fortunately, this Instructable is here to help.

The first helpful thing you can do is place a pin into the cardboard near the body of the roach and use this to hold the roach's wing back so that you can easily glue the butterfly wing underneath.

It also helps to have two pairs of tweezers for positioning the butterfly wing just right without using your hands.

Most importantly, it helps not to breathe. Seriously folks, don't breathe. You will notice that exhaling will almost assuredly move the butterfly wing (which, as per the butterfly effect, will ultimately cause an unwanted pregnancy in Cincinnati and ruin the Prom for everyone).

What worked for me was to take in a deep breath and position the wing as best I could during that time. When I couldn't hold my breath any longer, I would then turn my head completely to the side and exhale. I just kept repeating this process until I was done. Easy as that.

Lastly, if the nozzle from the Krazy Glue is too large for you to work with, try applying a small amount to the tip of an insect pin and using the pin to apply the glue.

Step 7: Proudly Display

Picture of Proudly Display

Once the glue is dry, display your cockerfly as you see fit.

As you can see below, I recreated a typical cockerfly scene.


pcairic (author)2011-03-06

You eat steak

dombeef (author)2011-01-08

I so want to do that, but I haven't been able to catch a fly yet.
My brother will freak out if he sees that

Ghost Wolf (author)2011-01-06

Look what I did cyborg roach!

jaysbob (author)2010-04-26

are those human bite marks on that roach hotel? o_O

randofo (author)jaysbob2010-04-26

It came that way. It was pre-bitten.

Ghost Wolf (author)randofo2011-01-06

Don't make the roaches mad!

It's the easy way to rid yourself of a little brother. " Hey Joe, instead of annoying me, check out this cool cookie I got you (holds up roach motel) why don't you go chew on it"

GreenDreamers (author)2010-04-27

I would reccomend using a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol in a sealable jar with the cockroach.  It kills them in like 10-20 minutes compared to 2-3 hours in the freezer.  It works on all kinds of insects.

dombeef (author)GreenDreamers2010-05-02

 But thats just mean...

Ghost Wolf (author)dombeef2011-01-06

Well when you mom put a lobster in a boiling pot of water does she consider humane? (yes) Kills them the second they drop in.

Do I like animal being killed, no but is the way of life

Arbitror (author)2010-05-02

Lol, at first I thought this was just a type of really fat butterfly...

smokebox (author)2010-04-29

I probably wouldn't sacrifice a butterfly for this project but you might try carbon tetrachloride (Carbona) as a killing agent.  It used to be a favorite chemical of  butterfly hunters which would instantly drop them out of the air when sprayed in a stream from a metal garden sprayer.  One drop anywhere on a wing would be sudden death.  It should work on cockroaches well enough, but definitely not as a pest control indoors where humans and pets live.

It was banned from use as a dry cleaner in laundry shops because too much exposure  causes liver and brain damage and cancer, and the vapor remains in clothes for too long.  It might still be available among stain removal chemicals in department or hardware stores, however.

randofo (author)smokebox2010-04-29

Liver, brain damage and cancer...? ...I think I will stick with putting things in the freezer.

Subconscionaut (author)randofo2010-04-29

besides, whatever happened to the Ether Bunny?

Azayles (author)Subconscionaut2010-04-30

Do you catch those with an ether net? :P

Sorry, that was terrible.

smokebox (author)Azayles2010-04-30

A plausible fiery fate.

smokebox (author)Subconscionaut2010-04-30

I don't know.  Haven't they proved he doesn't eggthitht?

Lftndbt (author)2010-04-30

Oh c'mon Randy! When I saw your name I was expecting you to keep it alive, then release it back to whence it came for some unexpectant  person to find.

I live specimen when have scored you 10/10.

Give it another go, but with just 5 minutes in the freezer. Should give you 40 secs or so,  to glue wings on before it revives. 

randofo (author)Lftndbt2010-04-30

Gluing butterfly wings onto a dead stationary cockroach is challenge enough for me.

Nxtfari (author)2010-04-29

My first thought when I was browsing through this Instructable, i thought you intended to keep a butterfly and a cockroach locked together in a jar until they crossbred. Then I realized that you were gluing the wings to the cockroach. Any butterfly is fine, but I hate cockroaches. If these cockerflies behave like cockroaches, than I'm more than fine with letting them go extinct.  Cockroaches are hard enough without the abilities to fly. What if they find jetpacks next? O_O

randofo (author)Nxtfari2010-04-29

Oh. Good idea. Crossbreeding. I'll try that next. Maybe I'll expose them both to gamma radiation too. That seems to go well in the comic books.

Subconscionaut (author)randofo2010-04-29

we tried cross breeding, but they either just muttered grumpily, started fights, or ignored each other. I guess it's just hard to get em feeling romantic when they're ticked off! ;}

bronwynnm (author)Nxtfari2010-04-29

You definitely don't want to come to Louisiana then, the screams you hear are when people find out that the 4 inch cockroaches (Palmetto Bugs) fly! lol. 

al_packer (author)2010-04-29

My brother had a roach control business in the LA area a few years back.  They used ordinary borax as an insecticide.  Seems that cockroaches are really very clean animals, and they groom themselves constantly.  When they get into the borax, they try to wipe it off, but the fine crystals are instead driven into the soft tissue between the sections of the exoskeleton.  The cockroach dies the "death of a thousand cuts".

tmross4 (author)2010-04-29

I lived in Los Angeles for a couple of years...I had a cockroach that ws about 5 inches long follow me down the street - it even crossed the street after me! But I don't know what was scarier, the roach following me, or the fact that it refused to follow me into Taco Bell! :) BTY, They also fly in L.A.! We had all types down there excepting for the hissers!

tmross4 (author)2010-04-29

Why kill a butterfly? A lot of them are disappearing. There are good fakes out there in the crafting stores.

randofo (author)tmross42010-04-29

I believe this one died of natural causes. Most of the places that sell preserved butterflies get them from butterfly farms.

chadeau (author)2010-04-29

Thanks,sarcastically...I will never be able to view another butterfly again without wondering if a cockroach has stolen it's wings...and I hate cockroaches as much as flies

toadnoodle (author)2010-04-26

Finally someone shows the fun side of Entomology.

JesterPoet (author)toadnoodle2010-04-27

Funniest comment ever.  Nice.

Kryptonite (author)2010-04-27

Hee hee that's so cool!

V-Man737 (author)2010-04-26

Did that make anyone else think of this YouTube Video?

randofo (author)V-Man7372010-04-26

Ummm... nope. I can't say that it did.

firefliie (author)2010-04-26

psh....snicker...cockefly (bahahehehe...)

caitlinsdad (author)2010-04-26

 Be sure to label your freezer jar  as a science experiment or else someone may mistake it for a condiment or a place to put the baby teether toy, not unless the whole freezer is full of science experiments...

caitlinsdad (author)caitlinsdad2010-04-26

 and just wait until the People for the Ethical Treatment of Insects start blasting here...

BeanGolem (author)caitlinsdad2010-04-26

 Blasting here would be very petty of them...


randofo (author)caitlinsdad2010-04-26

If they want to live amongst the roaches and cockerflies, they are more than welcome to. I prefer mine dried out and pinned down.

thepelton (author)2010-04-26

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

PetBennett (author)2010-04-26

i dont noe if im disturbed or stupified. . .

emptyport (author)2010-04-26

You actually don't want to pin in the center of the body.  The standard among entomologists is to pin just right of center.  If you pin in the center you are no longer able to see what the insect's body looks like right there.  If you pin off-center a little bit, you are able to see the center of the body; and since an insect's body is symmetrical, the features you pinned over on the right side of the body are visible on the left side of the body.
If you just want to fool your friends pinning in the center is fine, but pinning to the right makes it look more like a specimen from an entomologists collection.

randofo (author)emptyport2010-04-26

Thanks for the tip! That is very good to know.

=SMART= (author)2010-04-26

God dammit i hate insects.

are worms insects ? worms are fine.
And on its own an ant is cool but not in a swarm.

GameV8 (author)2010-04-26

This is a decent bit of rogue taxidermy.

This is a very good example of why genetic manipulation research should be globally banned. Humans are far too creative for that kind of power.

My compliments on the pictures very good macro shots. Compared to what we usually get around here. 

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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