The chrysalis of a butterfly can be used to determine the species of butterfly, but the sub-species chrysalids usually do not differ from each other. Chrysalids of different species take on different shapes and support systems for attachment. The gender of a butterfly can also be determined from the chrysalis.
The size and color of a chrysalis do not always indicate the species, since some caterpillars are larger than others within the same species. Many chrysalids take on the color of the environment in which the caterpillar lives as a camouflage technique. The chrysalis is made from the final molted skin of the caterpillar, which hardens around it once shed.