Rearing Actias Dubernardi in USA

  • Hello everyone,

    I would like some help with Actias dubernardi in captivity as I have never reared them before.

    Will temperatures around 25C be too hot for the larvae?

    I have found P. eldarica, thunbergii, densiflora and roxburghii in my area, will these be suitable foodplants for them?

    Are dubernardi very susceptible to disease like Hyalophora? Do you need a lot of ventilation?

    Thanks for your time,


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  • Hello Jason, I have reared them on Pinus sylvestris in plastic boxes of increasing size. I kept the numbers per box low. Say, 10 first instar in 10cm x 5 cm x 5 cm to 10 full grown caterpillars in 50cmx 30x 30. I cleaned and aired twice a day. I did not spray the caterpillars at any stage. The pine stayed fresh for 3 or 4 days. I reared at 20 to 25 degrees. They were disease free. The cocoons in the Uk summer took 8 weeks to eclose which is quite long. They paired in netted cages 1x1x1m cages in a poly tunnel with doors open. I am trying to overwinter my cocoons by keeping cool at 5 to 10 degrees, I hope they will be ok. They have been very very much easier than Hyalophora which I have always found to be very prone to disease. Best wishes Prem

  • Dubernardi is virtually foolproof as larva. any pine will work. The moths do not need a diapause and subjecting them

    to the normal way we diapause natives and others will probably kill them.

    Pines last well as cut food, but it still should be put in water. mist the larva now and then, give them lighting and keep things clean and airy.

    I've raised dubernardi 3 times, and finally have got the correct and most helpful info about the species, after

    they've spun up, which is that they won't diapause, they can hatch after spinning in as few as 5 weeks, and some

    may take longer. Mating is still something I have not achieved yet, every video makes it look easy, after editing..

    After hatching healthy stock, I've never lost a larva to the "black death" that plagues Hyalophora sometimes.

    I've kept up to 15 in a cage 2' tall, and 18" square,

    I'll have a brood going soon, you can also use potted pine if it'll fit in your space, I keep small pine trees for

    this purpose, especially when the larva first hatch, that way I don't have to transfer larva until they're bigger.

  • when I looked into getting an import permit, a hobbyist could only purchase male livestock in an even year, 1980

    for example, and females in an odd year, 1981 for example. I went no further, and I surmise that buying in

    December males, and attempting to buy females in January would have been flagged and prevented.

    It seems a pointless subject to me, I know of no hobbyist who legally raises non natives in the USA, despite

    the potential. You'd need an escape proof biosphere, something akin to what they put astronauts in, I've already

    been through this subject in other discussion groups. Genuine scientists have told me the permitting process

    takes over a year, even for a university. There you go.

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  • I've never had an issue buying livestock from overseas, the time involved in shipping is the only issue.

    I do remind sellers of our customs issues however, I've found anyone willing to ship to the USA is

    already aware of the "rules".

    Honestly, I have spoken with one breeder of lepidoptera in the states that got into trouble with Actias selene,

    he was reticent to elaborate the exact situation. That's the one and only person here in the states I've

    known to have had an issue with Lepidoptera.

    I have no reservations about buying livestock, save for the current pointless shipping situation.

    Use normal shipping, and you'll prevail, expedited shipping like might be needed for non-diapaused

    material could draw attention. It is unfortunate, but that's why you don't see Morpho livestock offered

    here in the states, as an example.

  • That's because you're using a website rather than a private person.

    Just answer some ads posted here, a number of people will ship to the states,

    I'm not going to list them here, but they'll typically be from the EU,

    All a person can do is ask, sometimes I simply get ignored, other people

    are accommodating.

    Pay with PayPal goods and services for anyone you don't know, I have a list

    of sellers however who I've done business with before.

    If you want PM me and I'll give you the names I have, but I haven't noticed any

    listings lately from those persons. Some people are very generous with terms,

    you just need patience regarding shipping, and you're going to need to assume

    some risk depending on what you've paid for, I wouldn't buy ova right now,

    unless it's overwintering.

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