Posts by kevink

    Well, I mentioned it earlier, but dubernardi does this exact thing. I recently reared 21 larva, and they all spun up,

    I kept track of the date I put each larva into 2 separate containers for spinning.

    11 larva began spinning on dates from March 9th, to the 11th, the remaining ten, I had to use a separate

    container for, and they spun on dates from March 11th, to the 15th.

    The first moth from container 1 hatched on April 10th, with the next hatchings on the 11th,13th,14th(2) and the 18th.

    From container 2, only 1 moth has hatched on April 14th.

    So, in all, 7 moths have hatched from 2 containers with varying dates of them beginning spinning cocoons,

    14 remain.

    To make things even more fun, the 7 that have hatched, are all males.

    This species is mind numbing. Only numbers and or luck allow the continuing breeding of this species,

    the seller I bought the ova from, related similar experience, with only 15% of his moths hatching together,

    and the remaining 85% still in cocoons, I don't know the amount of cocoons the seller is working with,

    but it's probably more than 21.

    When I had all my cocoons all nicely spun in the moss I provided them, I had a choice, sell some of them and let

    what comes happen, and risk not having a mating pair, or sell none and have the best chance for breeding.

    It's something to consider when buying livestock of this species, and some of the other exotic species, you need

    luck and or numbers. The same seller indicated that out of 30 Argema mittrei cocoons he was only able to get a mating

    from the last pair.

    Nobody is going to prevent you from buying 4, or 6 cocoons of a species, but divulging the probability of

    breeding with a small number is something different, and it takes record keeping to get figures on that

    probability. I've learned this over time, and sometimes often only end up with specimens, not breeding

    material, it's something I think about before buying exotic material. The frustrating thing, is having hatchings,

    and not knowing if that moth is going to die a virgin, or have a chance at mating, I've got 6 tattered and dead

    male Actias dubernardi now, which, while nice to look at for a few days, are worthless.

    What I've found is the one predictable thing about insects, and things in general, is that they

    are unpredictable.

    Many Saturniidae will overwinter twice, I've had several species do so, just yesterday I had a lone

    Hyalophora gloveri hatch from a 2019/2020 batch, it remained in the cocoon, while the others I'd

    had hatched last spring. Saturnia pyri- same thing.

    Argema mimosa, I had one of those stay in a cocoon over 18 months, the larger share of the batch

    hatching a few weeks after receiving them. I'm probably forgetting some others-

    Some individuals are different, explanations are difficult, when all conditions are identical, and some decide

    to stay in the cocoon.

    Hardly a surprise to many of us that have raised this species, they hatch at sporadic intervals when I've

    raised them, a number will hatch more or less at the same time, and the rest sit and wait for what ever

    they're waiting for.

    When I've had exotics that seem to refuse to hatch, I'll try wet and dry periods, but that can take months.

    I've been sent pictures of the habitat by another breeder, and it's semi-tropical mountain terrain, I guess

    Their emergence is some evolutionary strategy, or that as breeders in our respective locales, we're missing


    Translations are difficult sometimes, the translation feature on the ubiquitous search engine often baffles

    me, and it's context alone that allows the meaning to be understood.

    Using a camera is a great idea, many trail cameras have a function that will take time lapse photos over a number

    Of different lengths of time, and work in the dark as well.

    I use trail cameras here at home for security, but using them to keep an eye on moths should work, the time lapse

    takes photos at predetermined intervals.

    That would have stopped me from sending out infertile ova as well, it's frustrating for everyone- I'll keep this one in mind.

    I'm not familiar with the species, but that's probably too short a time for the mating to produce fertile

    Ova, Papilios I've handpaired stay connected much longer, more like an hour, I don't recall the exact

    time, but certainly more than 30 minutes.

    A nice idea, I think all you need is water and whatever aquatic plants you can get in your area, from the wild,

    Or from a shop., There are fully aquatics, like water lilies, and others like reeds that grow along shorelines.

    I tried this in a small way in California, raccoons eventually found it and had to be accounted for, I suppose

    the size of your pond would determine how much damage an animal might be able to do. I had to settle on

    an unattractive wire mesh cover.

    I don't know if Populus can be forced, some tree species are easier than others, Salix for instance, I never

    try breeding until food plant is growing well. Some lepidoptera like older leaves, but if you're stuck, anything

    is worth trying.

    Did the taxonomy change for anitopa? I thought it was Nymphalis anitopa.

    If you need host plant, you could try forcing cuttings indoors, as far as being fertile after

    Hibernation, I don't know, probably not. I'm sure there is a ton of information about this species

    On the web.

    This is a frustrating species for me, and probably others, they don't diapause, and you don't want to keep them

    below about 11c or 55f.

    Room temperature is best, warm during the day, and cooler at night, and elevated humidity, at least 50% or


    Some will hatch after 4-6 weeks, others will not, some people find this species easy to breed, others do not,

    the larva, once you have them are easy, pairings are a different matter.

    A little research into the climate and habitat they are native to might help you. I have 21 cocoons now, spun

    March 15th, through the 21st, I expect some to begin hatching in 3 or 4 weeks, but I've raised this species

    from ova 3 times now, and it's different every time.

    I. am going to disagree with Suparmani about the habitat, and snow, I mentioned this to the breeder who sold

    me my last batch of ova, and he sent me an email with a map, and a description of the habitat, and after

    looking at it, I realized that my conclusions about the native conditions for dubernardi were mistaken. Put them(cocoons)

    in the snow, and they'll perish.

    Sounds like you have something that works, diseases pop up now and then, usually indoors for me, but I've

    had some issues outside as well, I don't use the Oxine with every species, just ones that seem, or have been

    prone to disease.

    My climate is probably to blame for some problems, a cooler coastal climate, problems will show up when

    I try exotics outside, Antherina suraka was one I had a time with, Oregon isn't exactly Madagascar.

    Hello Kevink! Yes please tell us in detail! Thank you!

    Here you go- this was given to me a couple years ago by a breeder who swears by it, he raises indoors

    Only, and claims the following- "I've never lost a larva to disease, I've invigorated weak stock by eliminating

    sub-lethal infections sometimes attributed to inbreeding"

    The proportions of the aqueous mixture, (and you'll need to forgive we Americans who mix Imperial and metric

    measurements) 500ppm, this translates, for me ,to 1 gallon water, 100ml of Oxine, and 2 teaspoons citric acid as a catalyst,

    this, sprayed in a fine mist on leaves, you want to prevent large droplets that will trigger a drinking response,

    because it will give the larva the runs, but is completely safe, Oxine is approved for use in Animal breeding

    facilities, it can also be sprayed on ova to prevent transmission from the female of pathogens. You need a

    Good spray bottle, I have a brown glass spray bottle used for aromatic oils.

    For branch water, the dilution is 5 ppm, I translate this as 1/2 ounce of the 500 ppm solution in one quart of

    water, with about 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid.

    That's pretty much it, I have a stack of email from the breeder who was very patient and recommended the

    correct type spray bottle, he actually uses an industrial type fogger, but they're expensive, and the storage

    container for any mixture you might mix up- a brown plastic jug, the brown color to prevent breakdown

    from light. Glass would be suitable as well.

    I saved sick Hyalophora euryalus larva using the spray, larva from a batch that had the black fluid seeping

    from the mouth, some larva expired, but that was because they were already sick, I reached out for help

    that season, and was given the instructions, if I'd begun with the method, I assume I'd have had no losses.

    In support of this claim, I had sold the breeder euryalus ova, he had no losses, my larva developed the

    sickness, all ova from the same wild caught female.

    I.know another person who uses antibiotics, a powder that is used in chicken farming I think. but it's

    a medication and to prevent people from using it themselves, isn't easy to get. In the old days, we could buy

    penicillin at the pet shop, but not anymore.

    I.don't know about the EU and any regulations, concerning Oxine, but I bought everything from Amazon,

    all relatively inexpensive items.

    If anything is unclear, ask me, and if anyone tries this, pass it along if it works.

    Hello Carmen,

    this is not sleeping sickness, it really means sleeping sickness. The name comes from the appearance of the already dead caterpillars. These bite into the substrate (leaf etc.) and hang down limply. The bowel is finally emptied with a black liquid. The caterpillars can survive this common caterpillar disease. The pathogens, they are Nosema pathogens, are then transmitted to the next offspring via the hatching female and her eggs. The sleeping sickness is extremely contagious. A few years ago we had gradually lost all breeds due to an introduced exciter. Keeping a distance didn't help (living room, garage, etc.) because it was already too late when it first appeared. The farms "go down the drain" and in the end all that remains is total annihilation.

    Some cherry laurel varieties are extremely poisonous. Some caterpillars like (need?) That in order to become inedible themselves. Other caterpillars are often the cause of it. Cherry laurel hadn't worked for me with Attacus. But other breeders had no problems. The juices can also cause significant skin irritation to the touch.


    I have had a similar issue with Hyalophora species, euryalus and gloveri. I have had success using an animal safe disinfectant

    called "Oxine" there are specific concentrations for different applications - branch water, and as a mist applied to leaves.

    If anyone is interested, I'll detail it. I have saved sick larva before, I was introduced to this method by another breeder who

    went to a lot of work figuring it out, and had a lot of interesting information.

    Do you mean can honey do that? I don't know. I'm sure the electrolyte nectar works though, I used it

    with good results for two Papilio species, keeping them, hand pairing, and egg laying.

    I never used anything else, it's probably best to feed them something as close to natural as possible,

    Nymphalids feed on rotted fruit, I'm not sure about Papilios.

    Your experience using honey, would give a good argument that honey kills, your butterflies did seem to

    have a reaction that a poison might produce. Just like if a person ate a food they were allergic to.

    All that may be true, but sugar has no nutritional value at all. Just calories. Natural sugars in fruit, are going to

    be much different than processed sugar.

    I spend twice as much on my hummingbird food that has electrolytes in it, look at the ingredients for

    the cheap stuff- it's sugar water.

    I've mentioned, but never tried a fluid like "gatorade" that might provide some value- just a thought, I haven't

    tried it, butterflies are nice to look at for me, harder to raise.

    Food plant, and habits of the adults are going to be the factors of livestock availability.

    Some species are multi-brooded through the warmer months, and will have a diapause for overwintering,

    when the species normally overwinters, it doesn't matter how much of the summer they spend in a cocoon,

    they need that cold weather over a winter to develop properly. Some need very cold temps as well.

    One time, I had some Hyalophora euryalus ova from a wild female, sold some, and kept some, one of the buyers

    lives in southern California, I'm in Oregon, on the coast, the moth had been captured in late May, he sent me

    pictures in late June of nearly mature larva, and mine were still in early L3 and L2, the species requires a diapause,

    it was the first time I thought about the issue you bring up, but the reality, and what I've found out since then, is that

    when a species from a temperate climate, has an overwintering phase, it needs a diapause to develop

    properly, a person can manipulate multi-brooded species by rearing indoors and changing the light cycle,

    those species are regulated by the shortening day length in the fall, Actias luna is one I'm familiar with that

    way. I suppose you could continue a line of a multi-brooded species all winter, if raised indoors under a long

    day cycle.

    Don't give it a second thought- there are no stupid questions- just answers, everyone gets a surprise now and


    I'm not familiar with Saturnia pavoniella, so without looking it up, I don't know if it is multi-brooded, but the

    basics apply regardless.

    Good luck! Frank and Ulrich have good suggestions, Bees and ants are insects that eat honey, I think there

    is a moth that eats honey, but butterflies will never find it in nature.

    Make sure any solution you use is not just sugar water.

    You have a mystery Ethan, I don't think it's humidity, as far a being kept in a cage outdoors, the issue becomes

    the perfect location, where the butterflies can find shade and get out of the sun, a small cage, even a large

    reptarium, or net style cage probably would not be big enough.

    I have a contact here in Oregon that raises butterflies on a large scale, very large scale. He uses a big

    portable gazebo, like a screen tent, at least he sent me a picture of one, he probably has more than one.

    You could try other species of Papilio, or take a break from them, and get more experience with other

    butterflies, I don't raise butterflies often, moths are a bit easier, sometimes anyway.

    I have a friend in the UK that raises Papilios, I send him USA livestock sometimes, I'll mention your issue and

    maybe he might respond to your post. He also raises maackii sometimes, I think he uses a big room or


    I suppose each species is different. I have a 3'x18"x18" cage I have used for Papilio polyxenes, and Papilio

    macheon oregonius, perhaps a dozen at a time.

    I use a full spectrum led light panel- that's 11.5" sq.

    I used hummingbird nectar with electrolytes, and had to unfurl the proboscis with a toothpick, placing into

    the nectar, they would either resist, or sit and drink for 90 seconds or more.

    All room temperature- my room at 70f or better.

    Fed a day after hatching, in the morning and again in the afternoon sometimes.

    Ambient natural light, not direct sunlight.

    All the butterflies would live what I assume were long lives, several weeks. In the wild, perhaps

    they might last longer, avoiding predators of course.

    Bigger is better, but not always possible, perhaps as the weather warms, you can use a larger

    outdoor cage, if you can avoid escapes.

    Humidity- indoors runs 50% give or take a little.

    I'd try something different, if what you're doing isn't working.