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Peacock Butterfly Inachis io 10 larvae
Availability: July 2018

Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)

In Britain there is only one generation of Peacock Butterfly, but in captivity more will be available in July.

The larvae live in tight clusters on the tips of growing nettle. When the larvae are larger, keep them caged on cut stems of nettle in a jar of water. Pupae are formed in a matter of weeks, hanging from the cage top. Butterflies emerge in about 3 weeks.  They can be kept for a few days in a cage with flowers for nectar, then released into the wild.

Peaock larvae need fresh nettle, growing if possible. 

If you wish to rear the larvae in plastic boxes, while they are small, they can be kept on a lining of absorbent paper, with a sizeable sprig of fresh, un-wilted nettle. The paper lining must be changed and fresh food given EVERY day (including weekends). Place the previous day’s food with larvae on the new paper liner, add a fresh and adequate sprig of nettle, and the larvae will transfer themselves to the new food. Give them entire nettle stems with leaves, not leaves alone. Close the lid and keep the box out of sunlight. The closed container keeps the foodplant fresh. No holes are needed because there is more than enough trapped air for larvae to breathe. Never allow excessive condensation, nor mould. The size of box should be chosen according to the size and number of larvae being reared. The size 5 box is large enough to house them once they have grown for a week or two. For smaller larvae the Size 8 is appropriate. When the larvae have become too large for the box, they can be kept in a cage, with the nettle kept fresh in a jar of water. The pupae are formed hanging from the top of the cage and the foodplant. 



Red Admiral atalanta 15 eggs/10 larvae
Availability: Summer 2018

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to availability


This is not a species for a beginner. Eggs are so small that a lens is needed to see them. If sent as larvae, they are usually tiny, before they start making leaf-tents. This is no problem for an experienced breeder, but is not as easy to look after as larvae that arrive at a visible size or as a cluster.

The larvae are solitary and make a nettle leaf into a tent. Inside the leaf tent the larva develops quickly in warm weather, sometimes moving to a bigger tent.  The final shelter is where the larva hangs up and pupates. The butterflies will emerge this year.  If you can keep them on growing foodplant, either potted or sleeved outside, this is the best way to accommodate their need for fresh food as a shelter.

 Larvae are too small  to be put into a cage or aquarium. They are best reared on growing foodplant, enclosed in a sleeve.





Painted Lady cardui  5 larvae in Pot on Diet
Availability: April 2018

Five Painted Lady larvae in Total Environment Pot


Next supplies will be April 2018


The five Painted Lady caterpillars live their whole life inside the see-through pot which contains all they need from birth to pupating. You need add no food. You don’t even clean them out and they look after themselves over weekends!


The larvae grow quite quickly in summer indoor conditions (never keep them in direct sunshine).  The container is easily passed round a group without disturbance to the larvae.

During skin change the larvae do not move or eat This may last a day or two.


Don't be alarmed by this: it is a natural stage in their development.


When the larvae have finished eating, they suspend themselves from a silk pad spun on special absorbent paper in the lid. Here they cast their caterpillar skin.  If you are lucky and look at the right moment you can see the actual moment of change from caterpillar to chrysalis.


Let the chrysalis harden for a couple of days, then hang the paper pinned inside a cage for the butterflies to emerge.

You can keep the butterflies for a few days in a cage with nectar flowers. Then, except in the colder months October to March, release them into the wild where they may breed naturally in your area. Please keep the larvae and pupae in an even room temperature (around 18-22º) day and night. Keep away from direct sunlight or a direct heat source such as a radiator.

The instructions are printed above - please note them for the arrival of the larvae which are not sent with further instructions. If you are sending larvae as a present, please remember the recipient will not have these instructions, unless you copy them to the recipient.


Can be ordered in advance. During the season there may be a delay of a couple of weeks or more if larvae are not currently at the size for sending. 

One pot of 5 Painted Lady caterpillars £13.95         Six pots of 5 Painted Lady caterpillars for group study (one supplied free!) for only £69.75


Painted Lady cardui 10 larvae
Availability: From April 2018

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui



Orders to be sent internationally will be sent feeding on diet instead of leaf. This means they travel better in the journey by post, and they can be changed to leaf on arrival.


The Painted Lady butterfly occurs in more continents of the world than any other butterfly. The larvae are easy to rear on Thistle (its preferred food plant), Burdock, Stinging Nettle, Mallow, Hollyhock and will often take other foodplants. An ideal species for schools.

Each larva lives solitarily from birth. It spins a protective silk cover, living at first off the leaf cuticle. When possible, keep the larvae on a growing foodplant, which enables the caterpillar to make its silk cover, and move on to fresh food when it requires. If kept on cut food, please ensure that the plant is kept fresh and changed before the quality of the food suffers. This of course applies to all species, but the method has to take into account the solitary habit of the larva, and its protective silk.


Depending on temperature, the larvae pupate in a little over a month. Butterflies emerge in 2-3 weeks. The cycle continues throughout summer and several broods are possible in a season.


The butterflies can be kept with nectar flowers for some days, and then except in the colder months October to March, released to breed in the wild.


There may be a delay of a couple of weeks if larvae are not at the right size for sending. Can be ordered immediately.

Larvae are often quite small when sent. Too small  to be put into a cage or aquarium. They are best reared on growing foodplant, enclosed in a sleeve. Alternatively keep in a plastic box, lined with absorbent paper, and changed daily. For details see the All Colour Paperback BUTTERFLIES.



Comma larvae c-album 10 larvae
Availability: Spring 2018

Comma Butterfly Polygonia c-album 10 larvae  


Fascinating larvae with curious half and half markings in black, brown and white, mimicking a bird dropping. The larvae feed on Stinging Nettle, Elm and Hop. Also Sallow, Osier Willow Salix viminalis, and sometimes other Willows. They live singly. Fast growing.


Young larvae will succeed best if placed on growing foodplant. Enclose plant and pot in a netting sleeve, tied at both ends: size 3 is ideal. Cut food is not recommended at least until the larvae are nearly half grown. This garden butterfly is capable of re-colonising places where it used to be. In autumn the butterflies are very partial to fallen fruit. With some help this butterfly could be encouraged to spread.


Keeping two species of larvae together on the same foodplant?  It is sometimes possible, but their way of life may differ and we recommend keeping them separately.  Comma larvae live solitary lives and should be reared in their own enclosure.






Queen of Spain Fritillary lathonia 10 Larvae
Availability: Spring

Queen of Spain Fritillary Issoria lathonia Larvae


The silver spangles on the underside of this Fritillary surpass all other species!  A medium-sized Fritillary that is very easy to rear on Pansy leaves and flowers. It is best to have potted food which is available from garden shops. The easiest method is to enclose the potted plant entirely within a netting sleeve. A sleeve with zip access is most convenient. Please ensure that the plants have not been treated with insecticide at any time. 


Larvae will produce butterflies this year if kept warm indoors.



Scarce Fritillary Hypodryas maturna 10 larvae
Availability: NOW

Scarce Fritillary Hypodryas maturna

Hibernating larvae being sent out NOW. Keep sleeved outside amongst a ball of dry fallen leaves. This is a RARE opportunity!

We are very pleased to be able to offer larvae of this scarce and interesting relative of the Marsh Fritillary. It is an arboreal species, frequenting woodland. The larvae particularly favour feeding on Ash and Aspen, as well as feeding on Honeysuckle and Scabious. There are some isolated colonies in France and Sweden, but most are found in extreme Eastern Europe and eastwards towards Siberia. Winter larvae can be hibernated in sleeves.



High Brown Fritillary Fabriciana adippe 50 eggs
Availability: NOW

High Brown Fritillary Fabriciana adippe 20 eggs

A scarce species, difficult to obtain. Foodplant Violet leaves. These eggs will hibernate until mid to late winter, when you need to be ready with potted violet. Enclose the larvae on potted plants and protect from predators. Butterflies are produced next summer. 

VERY SPECIAL PRICE for a rare species!

£74.75 £25.00
High Brown Fritillary Fabriciana adippe 20 eggs
Availability: NOW

High Brown Fritillary Fabriciana adippe 20 eggs

A scarce species, difficult to obtain. Foodplant Violet leaves. These eggs will hibernate until mid to late winter, when you need to be ready with potted violet. Enclose the larvae on potted plants and protect from predators. Butterflies are produced next summer. 

VERY SPECIAL PRICE for a rare species!


£29.90 £12.95
Dark Green Fritillary aglaia 20 larvae
Availability: NOW

Dark Green Fritillary Mesoacidalia aglaia 20 larvae


Best reared on potted Violet. These larvae are in hibernation. Keep the larvae in winter out of doors, in all weathers, protected amongst dead bramble and other leaves, amongst growing Violet. Cover with netting sleeve to exclude predators and to prevent escape.


SPECIAL PRICE for 20 larvae - half the normal!



Marsh Fritillary aurinia 10 larvae
Availability: Spring 2018

Marsh Fritillary Eurodryas aurinia larvae



Marsh Fritillary post-hibernation larvae.  They feed low amongst the leaves of Devil’s Bit Scabioius, but will also eat Honeysuckle. Honeysuckle starts leafing very early in the year, especially where sheltered in woodland. By February it is not diffficult to find enough foodplant to keep caterpillars well fed.  In captivity the larvae are recorded as accepting Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata, Teasel Dipsacus and Snowberry Symphoricarpos.


Larvae are available for only a short time in March. Please order early because they quickly sell.


After waking in the spring the larvae grow fast, pupating in April and emerging as butterflies in May.



Heath Fritillary athalia 10 Larvae
Availability: May 2018


Heath Fritillary Melicta athalia


Common in parts of Europe, and a rare and very localised species in Britain.  The larvae thrive on narrow-leaved Plantain Plantago  and bear a remarkable resemblance to its flowerheads.  Larvae supplied in July/August will normally hibernate, but if kept in warm conditions, some may grow and produce butterflies again this year.