Posts by kevink

    Looks like 2 males to me, I just looked at my specimens, and the sexes are very similar, the antennae size is also

    similar, the males being slightly bigger, however, the female body size is much fatter.

    I've had issues with atlas before, it depends how bad the situation is. You can flatten out wrinkles, but wings that are

    not even close to being fully developed are a loss.

    Another thing about atlas- you can remove the pupa from the cocoon, and some people will soften the cocoon

    to help with emergence.

    I have.

    "exit" is subjective.

    Sure, there is the wiggling, and pushing, but the actual exit is quick, i've got still pictures of Actias maenas in sequence,

    it took about 20 seconds for the actual exit. Look away and you miss it.

    Moths exit their cocoons in the blink of an eye, maybe a few minutes if you are watching them, there are signs,

    like moisture at the escape end, and pushing, I've only seen a handful of moths actually exit.


    Mimosa is one of the tricky ones, they can stay as long as 18 months in a cocoon, or as little as a few weeks.

    Unless it's simply an earthy smell from the pupa being formed underground- they might be dead.

    With a large pupa like that, it can take a long time to dry out after it dies, I weigh my cocoons and pupa, dead ones

    will lose weight.

    If a pupa feels cool, it's probably alive, but a warm one is probably not.

    I would think a wild butterfly should be able to survive well in captivity, but like I mentioned earlier,

    after my experience with rutulus, I read that they'll acclimate better if kept in the dark for a day after

    being captured.

    I also think it's only males that need minerals, and perhaps females that are gravid, try gatorade with the

    nectar.

    You do have a large cage there, but it could probably use more light, think about how bright a sunny day is,

    I use full spectrum led lights, they don't produce much, if any heat, and are bright, as well as inexpensive.

    I bought my panel from eBay for about 25 bucks.

    Try feeding at different times of the day. They should sit and drink for several minutes.

    If you are using wild caught butterflies, I have read that keeping them in the dark for a day

    after capture will help them to adjust to captivity, I learned this after capturing Papilio rutulus

    and they did not last long either, sounds similar to your problem.

    Butterflies take a lot of room to pair naturally, I've only hand paired a couple Papilio species,

    but they should stay coupled for at least an hour.

    I've had a similar situation with Hyalophora euryalus, gloveri, and cecropia in different seasons, as well as Actias luna.

    The Hyalophora would grow until L3 or later, then expire. I attributed it to some unknown pathogen, and my conclusion

    was supported somewhat by using an animal disinfectant on sick euryalus, which recovered.

    The luna was a bit different, I was raising them indoors and feel that the food plant, Alnus rubra was part of

    the problem.

    Clean conditions, and food plant are the only solutions I can offer as a general guide.

    Some species seem more prone to disease than others.

    I tried the injection with water, and a commercial softening liquid as well, I couldn't the the results

    that other people were getting, there was a very long discussion about this at Insectnet, and many people

    Had different methods they liked, I couldn't get anything to work properly until the cold method was described,

    I.was having doubts about trying dry material again.

    Other person's didn't feel it worked as well as described, but it worked for me, the specimens stay dry enough,

    and only the moveable parts are softened, the wings would get small water droplets on them, but not enough

    to cause damage. I think most people that work with dry material already have a method, but for people like

    me, who was doing it wrong--- More information, that's the point of our forums.

    I just learned an amazing new way of relaxing dry material, I used it on Ornithoptera species, males and females,

    I relaxed a total of 5 different species using this method.

    In an airtight container, I set a couple layers of paper towels in the bottom, and misted them fairly moist with distilled water,

    I did at first use a disinfectant, but it is not needed. Then, take the insect, in the glassine, set it on the paper towels,

    then put a couple more paper towels on top and mist them.

    Close the container and put it in the refrigerator.

    Wait anywhere from 24 hours to 6 days, depending on the size of the specimen.

    This works. It changed my life- in an entomological way, I'd given up on dry stock, now, the whole world is open,

    and it's just a matter of space and specimens.

    There is an entire thread about this method on the Insectnet website, with people posting their results, the thread

    is about a month old, but it's under "general topics" if I remember correctly.

    I'd probably try and find some live plants, or grow from seed, you need to be aware of any type of pesticides,

    even organic ones.

    It might be the shipping, perhaps temperature fluctuations in transit, or at the postal facilities are harming the pupa.

    Where the pupa aren't diapaused, it could be an issue.

    Look at "livestock" in the classifieds.

    I.know there is a lot of dry material to wade through if you just start with the basic classified section,

    stick to livestock and you'll have an easier time of it. The weather is turning and more ads pop up, I look

    at ads every day, sometimes people only have an ad up for 24 hours-

    Reaching too far- trying too hard, maybe?

    Try natives, there are a lot of North American species that are nice. If you see the same things happening with natives,

    it is something you're doing, You might be reaching to far, even wild caught Papilios and Nymphalids should last longer

    than what you're experiencing.

    There are ads at Insectnet for natives.

    I've had mine at about 55%, and hatchings have been successful and fairly regular, sometimes singles,

    with a day in between, last night 3 hatched together.

    I. was misting them at first every several days, but it didn't seem to make a difference, so I've

    stopped doing that.

    I'm not sure either- I have nasturtiums, and other forage for cabbage whites, I see them flitting about the

    plants, landing, and making egg laying motions, I see the leaves with activity of some insect larva, but I've never

    been able to spot the larva, ova or pupa.

    I've found ova of Papilio zelicaon after seeing them alight on my fennel bushes, so I know it's possible to find

    butterfly eggs, as well as larva.

    Depending on your designs for them, it may have to suffice that they're there.

    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

    something.