CURRENT PUPAE - Chrysalides and cocoons

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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Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus 5 pupae
Availability: August

Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus Europe

 Livestock is seldom available. This is a scarce migrant to Britain. The larvae live inside the flowers and seed pods of Broom, Pea, and almost any Leguminosae (Papilionaceae)


Duke of Burgundy Fritillary lucina 5 pupae
Availability: July onwards

Duke of Burgundy Fritillary Hamearis lucina Larvae

 A very attractive pupae, speckled and hairy!

Curious oval larvae like those of the Blues, but not green like those, more a straw colour, with rows of black dots. They live on Primrose or Polyanthus leaves. Not difficult to rear on a potted plant.

Resulting pupae have similar colouring and pattern. Store the pupae in a fridge until May when the delightful butterflies emerge. Very seldom available.



Brown Hairstreak betulae TEN pupae
Availability: NOW

Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae

Pupae of this species hardly ever become available. A curious pupa, superbly camouflaged. Pair the butterflies in captivity and get the females to lay on Blackthorn twigs. Store for the winter in a cool place that is not totally lacking in moisture. The eggs are used to a cold, wet winter! The larvae hatch when the Blackthorn (Sloe) buds open.  Supplies are limited - first come first served.





£45.00 £39.95
Deathshead Hawk atropos pupae
Availability: Sept/October

Deathshead Hawkmoth Acherontia atropos Pupae

These pupae will produce moths this year.The larvae feed on many plants in the potato family, Solanaceae, but you don’t have to have these to keep the larvae, they do well on Privet. They have also been found feeding on Buddleia, resulting in a pale coloured larva that matches the leaves. The duration of the egg stage is just a few days, and the larvae grow probably twice as fast as our native hawkmoth larvae, completing their life cycle in as little as 4-6 weeks in summer temperatures.

The moth is just amazing to have alive on your hand! It is furry, and squeaks – almost like handling a little mammal. It also humps its back and displays the blue markings on the body, as well as the famous skull and crossbones on the thorax. The moth needs to feed, not from flowers but from a pad soaked in weak honey or sugar solution. They will seldom feed themselves: it is necessary to hold each moth firmly and, with a strong setting needle, guide the short mouth tube into the sweet feeding pads. They will resist the handling, but once the proboscis samples the sweet solution, they usually coninue feeding of their own accord for some time. The moths may need this assistance repeatedly every few days. Moths have been found inside beehives, attracted by the sweet smell of honey. 

In winter moths may be produced before spring if the pupae are kept warm.  To overwinter, bury the pupae in light compost that is not too damp but not allowed to dry out. The top of each pupa should be just showing. Store in a cool place (10-12 degrees C) away from predadors. Bring into the warm in April ready for May emergence. 

Eyed Hawk Smerinthus ocellata pupae
Availability: NOW

Eyed Hawk Smerinthus ocellata

These pupae will produce moths this year. Pairings extremely easy. Larvae feed on Apple, Willows and Sallows. The larvae do best on living foodplant because these plants do not last well in water. Very attractive larvae, highly camouflaged with silvery markings on green, and very streamlined. Single brooded. The moth has beautiful hindwings which it flashes if disturbed. Huge eyespots brightly coloured with magenta and blue. Highly recommended. 

Additional reported foodplants: Poplars, Blackthorn, Lime, Privet, Alder, Birch, Plum, Blackthorn, some Viburnums, Various Prunus, Laurel.



Lime Hawk tiliae pupae
Availability: NOW

Lime Hawkmoth Mimas tiliae

Some excellent forms of pattern and colour are appearing from these pupae, including one-spot, banded and brick red forms, as well as a wide colour range of normal pattern. There is no way of detecting these in the early stages, but we are illustrating some of these extreme forms that have been emerging.

Store pupae refrigerated for the winter. The moths normally emerge in May/June.

Extremely easy to rear on Lime or Elm. Other reported foodplants include Cherry, Alder, Birch, Oak, Hazel, Acer including Sycamore, Sorbus, Apple, Pear and Ash! In autumn the larvae will grow faster if kept warm. 

The larvae do particularly well sleeved on growing foodplant but can be kept in plastic boxes or cages. Beautiful streamlined larvae. Larger larvae are often heavily marked with flame and scarlet spots and blotches. Very variable. They pupate underground. In captivity they will pupate amongst folds of cloth or absorbent tissue.

Smerinthus caecus, RUSSIA A Breeding Stock of 5 pupae
Availability: NOW

Smerinthus caecus, RUSSIA 

Never before offered by WWB. This Eyed Hawk lives principally in Russia where it has been recorded right across this huge expanse, into the Far Eastern region. It has also been recorded in Korea, parts of China, and in Japan.

The larvae feed on Poplars and Willows. Maybe worth trying to discover additonal foodplants. A number of different colour forms of larvae have been photographed, and these may even be related to the lighting conditions in which they live, and on the foodplants. 

This is an opportunity to learn more about this species. 

Privet Hawk S ligustri Pupae
Availability: NOW

Privet Hawk Sphinx ligustri

One of the largest Hawkmoths. These will produce adults this year, or you can keep them cool for breeding next year.

The caterpillar becomes enormous and is characteristic of the name Sphinx moths, by its sphinx-like resting position. Adults emerge in June and July.  They need nectar from the flowers of Privet, Valerian, Buddleia. 

Larval foodplants: Privet, Lilac, Ash, also reportedly Spiraea, Viburnum opulus, and other Viburnums,  Holly, Dogwood, Snowberry, Apple, Pear, Oleander, Leycesteria, Currant.

One generation in the year. Privet Hawks breed readily in a large cage with nectar and foodplant. 



Dolbina tancrei Asia Breeding Stock of 5 pupae
Availability: NOW

Dolbina tancrei Asia

This Hawkmoth is not very often offered for sale. Not difficult to breed. The larvae feed on Privet, Ash and Lilac.

Very interestingly marked larvae, changing pattern and colour several times as they grow. 

The pupa is formed underground where it remains until the next season.

Buff Tip Moth bucephala pupae
Availability: NOW

Buff Tip Moth Phalera bucephala

The Buff Tip, once very common, is remarkable and a must for the enthusiast.  The eggs are laid in a tight cluster on a leaf underside 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.

Monarch Butterfly (Milkweed) Danaus plexippus  5 pupae
Availability: NOW

Monarch Butterfly (Milkweed) Danaus plexippus 

Pupae arriving first week August.

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

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.


Small Milkweed or Plain Tiger Lymnas chrysippus Tropical Asia 6 pupae
Availability: August

Small Milkweed or Plain Tiger Lymnas (Danaus) chrysippus Tropical Asia 

A close relative of the Monarch or Milkweed Butterfly Danaus plexippus. This continuously brooded butterfly likewise feeds on Milkweeds Asclepias and Silkweed. There is some similarity also in the appearance of the larva and pupae of the two species.

The male has a patch of scent scales androconia on one of the hindwing veins and this is a useful way of distinguishing the sexes.