Current EGGS and LARVAE

If you are a beginner and need information on rearing from small caterpillars, or hatching out pupae, please order the All Colour Paperback BUTTERFLIES. INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT SENT WITH EACH SPECIES, you need to acquire basic skills and this book is a simple way of doing so.

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Heliconius melpomone 10 larvae
Availability: June/July


Heliconius melpomone Central and South America

The Heliconius butterflies are mimetic, not only of each other, but they also imitate other species that are distastful to predators. The infinite variety of colour forms  and patterns is astonishing.

The habits of Heliconius butterflies are wonderful to observe. Some are capapble of hovering and even flying backwards. The butterflies are able to gather not only nectar through the proboscis, but also pollen which they store in the coils of the proboscis.

Some individuals have been known to survive for months, even in captive conditions.

Eggs are laid on the growing shoots and tendrils of Passiflora, on which the larvae feed. Most lay eggs individually though some lay in groups. The butterflies are continuously brooded and can become a magnificent feature of a greenhouse or conservatory.

 

£14.95
Heliconius species 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to availability.
Availability: Summer 2020


Heliconius species Central and South America

Larvae feed on Passion Plant Passifolora caerulea. Often in clusters when young, the larvae grow fast in warm conditions. Ideally on growing foodplant.

Larvae may be of more than one species. Melpomone and erato , probably could include some cydno and hecale. 

The Heliconius butterflies are mimetic, not only of each other, but they also imitate other species that are distastful to predators. So don't be surprised if your butterflies don't have the same pattern and marking as the illustration, but they do have the same narrow wing shape in common, and their habits are wonderful to observe. Some are capapble of hovering and even flying backwards. The butterflies are able to gather not only nectar through the proboscis, but also pollen which they store in the coils of the proboscis.

Some individuals have been known to survive for months, even in captive conditions.

Eggs are laid on the growing shoots and tendrils of Passiflora, on which the larvae feed. Most lay eggs individually though some lay in groups. The butterflies are continuously brooded and can become a magnificent feature of a greenhouse or conservatory.

 

£12.95
Hypolimnas bolina Tropical Asia 10 larvae
Availability: July


Hypolimnas bolina Tropical Asia. 

When explorers first encountered this butterfly they were hugely excited by the iridescent blue and white markings. This is indeed one of the most beautiful tropical butterflies, even though quite widespread and common. The larvae can be reared on stinging nettle! a

The female is larger than the male, with different patterning in blue, white and orange on black.

 

 

£12.95
Willowherb Hawkmoth Proserpinus proserpina Pupae
Availability: NOW



Willowherb Hawkmoth Proserpinus proserpina

SCARCE! Only a few pupae available. Lower price this year!

This rather rare Hawkmoth is a gem, seldom encountered, though it lives throughout much of western and central Europe, eastwards into Russia.  

The larva is rather like a grey form of Small Elephant Hawk. The foodplant is Rosebay Willowherb Epilobium, Evening Primrose Oenothera and Purple Loosetrife Lythrum. The pretty little green moth has prominent egg-yolk coloured hindwings.  The normal flight period is June and July.

Oleander Hawk nerii 15 eggs
Availability: Summer


Oleander Hawk Daphnis nerii 

One of the finest of all Hawkmoths. The larvae are very fast growing indeed and they consume a lot of food. It is often possible to have the larvae from hatching to pupation in little more than a month.

Larvae thrive on Privet and can be reared on Periwinkle Vinca. Suitable for winter or summer rearing. Oleander Nerium is a natural foodplant but it is often tough and leathery, so the alternives are usually better than Oleander.

 

£12.95
Convolvulous Hawk convolvuli 10 larvae
Availability: September/October


Convolvulous Hawkmoth Herse convolvuli 

The moths have started breeding. Larvae will follow next month.  Not available every year: these are very special! 

Huge caterpillars: fascinating to rear.  The pupa has a curious proboscis, like a jug handle. Feeds at dusk, Tobacco plants, Petunia, Lillies and Phlox.

Larval Foodplants: Convolvulus, Field Bindweed, Hedge Bindweed, some Morning Glories.

Best reared in Plastic Rearing Containers: see the advice at the heading of that section of the WWB website. Keep at about 25 degrees C. The paper lining and food must be changed EVERY day. Food needs to be very fresh at all times. When larger the larvae may need this change twice a day, due to their productivity!

£12.95
Buff Tip Moth bucephala Eggs at special prices
Availability: NOW


Buff Tip Moth Phalera bucephala 

 The Buff Tip, once very common, is remarkable and a must for the enthusiast. You could help re-establish Buff Tips in your area. The eggs are laid in a tight cluster on a leaf of the foodplant. A hatched group of eggs is illustrated and you can see the skeletonised leaf left by the tiny larvae as they progress feeding across the leaf. The larvae are gregarious and quite conspicuous by the trail of eaten leaves, and the fact that they form quite a lumpy cluster! 

They are coloured with a netted pattern of yellow and black, warning colours that ward off predators, and larger larvae have a covering of long, fine white silky hairs. The group does not disperse until pupation when they descend to burrow quite deep into the soil.

The moth is a master of deception, rolling its wings to form a silvery tube with extraordinary likeness at either end to a broken branch. If it flies up on being disturbed, it is hard to spot on landing, unless you know what you are looking for, because it so closely resembles a piece of branch.  The larvae feed Maple, Birch, Hazel, Laburnham, Poplar, Prunus (Plums and Blackthorn), Oak, False Acacia Robinia, Hazel, Rose, Willows, Sallows, Lime, Elm, Viburnums.

We recommend Buff Tips as a great experience of nature.

Lappet Moth quercifolia 10 larvae
Availability: NOW


Lappet Moth Gastropacha quercifolia  

We don't get Lappets every year. This is quite special.

A magnificent species with fascinating, very large furry caterpillars that blend into their surroundings, and a moth that looks just like a bunch of leaves. Very easy to rear, sleeved on growing Blackthorn,
Plum, Hawthorn or Apple.

The larvae grow to become a good size for hibernation, when they settle down the twigs and remain still for the winter.

Sleeve the larvae for the winter, using a double sleeve which protects better than single, during winter gales and helps prevent predators. In spring they awake and feed up rapidly, becoming giant and pupating in June. The cocoon is thin and papery. Inside the pupa is fragile and should not be disturbed. The moth is something that will amaze anyone seeing it for the first time!

 

£12.95
Vapourer Moth antiqua eggs.
Availability: NOW


Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua

 Eggs are laid by the wingless female in a batch on the cocoon, where they pass the winter and hatch in spring. 

Very interesting both for its moth and its very attractive and colourful caterpillar. Winter eggs are supplied for storage in the cool until spring. The larvae normally hatch in May/June or later, and feed on a wide variety of trees, which include Hawthorn, Willows and Sallows, most fruit trees, Hazel, Rose, Lime and Oak. The larvae are beautifully patterned and coloured, and decorated by prominent shaving brush-like tufts. The cocoon is spun amongst the foodplant.

The male moth is delicate, chestnut brown, with prominent feathered antennae, which are used to detect the wingless female, who emerges from the cocoon and rests on it, calling for a male. She lays her egg batch all over the cocoon where the eggs remain through the winter ready to start off the next generation.

 

Scarce Vapourer Orgyia recens 10 larvae
Availability: NOW


Scarce Vapourer Orgyia recens British stock

These are larvae out of hibernation, sent in the spring.

Now a rare species, occurring mainly in very few northern localities of Britain. The caterpillar is extremely ornate, with decorative and colourful tufts of hair. Moths are produced in June and July. Subsequent larvae hibernate and are best kept for hibernation in sleeves, allowing the fallen leaves to remain in the sleeve, to give protection to the larvae. Larval foodplants : Hawthorns, Oaks and Sallows, also Birche, Blackthorn, Rose, Bramble, Hazel, Heather, Alder Buckthorn, Meadowsweet, Common Sorrel and Rosebay Willowherb. The female is wingless. She clings to the empty cocoon and lays her eggs on it. The male is much darker than the male Vapourer Moth antiqua,  and of course much rarer.

 

 

£12.95
Monarch Butterfly (Milkweed) Danaus plexippus  10 larvae
Availability: July


Monarch Butterfly (Milkweed) Danaus plexippus 

This butterfly is officially on the British List, migrating to Britain on rare occasions, from islands off North Africa, and reportedly even from North America. Much larger than any other species on the list, this striking butterfly has powerful, yet graceful flight.

The butterflies will emerge from the pupa in warm, moist conditions. This can be done at little over normal room temperature. They like 25-30 degrees C and will breed at these temperatures.

The butterflies like a warm greenhouse containing nectar plants, and this is the best place also for the emerging cage for the pupae. Shade the cage from direct sun which is too harsh.

The only larval foodplants are Milkweeds Asclepias and Silkweed Gomphocarpus, both of which grow well from seed. Asclepias seeds and even plants can be found on the internet. Gomphocarpus plants are advertised by http://www.curiousplants.co.uk/fur-balls-plant-asclepias-physocarpa-or-gomphocarpus-physocarpus-126-p.asp

Asclepias curassavica is an indoor plant, not frost-hardy, that grows fast and is excellent as a foodplant throughout the year in a greenhouse. There are hardy herbacious species (unsuitable for winter rearing). The most prolific for feeding quantities of larvae is Asclepias syriaca with multiple broad leaves and stems a metre or more high.

Beware: don't under-estimate the voracious appetite of larvae! Grow plenty of foodplant. The larvae and adults are strikingly marked with warning colours to deter predators, and they contain toxins from the foodplant that reinforce the warning! Several generations are produced each summer. 

In the wild, the adults migrate south to warmer climate, where they hibernate in huge numbers, covering whole trees, like autumn leaves.  The pupa is like a miniature Christmas tree bauble! Even if you do not have the foodplants to raise larvae, the emergence of the butterflies in your own emerging cage is a great experience.

 

£19.95
American Moon Moth Actias luna Eggs
Availability: August


American Moon Moth Actias luna North America  

A very attractive Moon Moth that is double brooded and is very easy to rear. Larvae of the first brood produce moths this year.

The larvae feed on Walnut, and have been recorded as accepting Liquidambar, Birch, Plane, Maples, Aspen, Plum, Sallow, Osier Willow and several kinds of Oak. We have excellent results with Walnut and Osier.

Store autumn cocoons cool, even in a fridge from December onwards. In April they can be incubated for emergence in May.