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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Laurel Sphinx, Sphinx kalmiae pupae SPECIAL PRICE!
Availability: NOW

Laurel Sphinx Sphinx kalmiae North America

SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL PRICE 5 pupae normally £29.95 now £20.95

 A very large American Hawkmoth. Much the size and markings of our Privet Hawk and not dissimilar in its characteristics, but coloured more beige than grey and with other interesting differences. Its name is derived from the moth's habit of taking nectar from Kalmia flowers. The larvae do not eat Laurel. They feed on Privet and Ash. As easy as Privet Hawk to rear. Might possibly hybridise.

Garden Tiger caja Woolly Bears. 10 Larvae
Availability: NOW

Garden Tiger Moth Arctia caja  

Young larvae that in the wild would hibernate and if kept warm and active, could develop and produce another generation this year.  If young larvae are released into hedgerows, there is the opportunity to introduce Woolly Bears back into the countryside, where once they were abundant each spring.

Garden Tiger larvae Woolly Bears  grow fast on Dock, Dandelion, Dead Nettle, Nettle and many other hedgerow plants, also Pussy Willow Salix caprea and Osier Willow Salix viminalis.  You can also feed them conveniently on Cabbage.

Now a most difficult species to obtain.

In the wild, late summer larvae would hibernate, but if you keep them warm and light, many will produce another generation this year.

If you wish to hibernate Wooly Bears, sleeve them in autumn on Willow or Sallow (Pussy Willow). The falling leaves curl to form a ventilated ball in which the larvae hibernate. If all goes well in winter the larvae emerge in spring and feed from the new spring leaves.


Cinnabar Moth Hipocrita jacobaeae pupae
Availability: Autumn

Cinnabar Moth Hipocrita jacobaeae pupae

Once an extremely common British Moth, less common over most of Europe, but over the last 10 years there has been a marked decline in numbers. The summer of 2016 brought a reversal of this decline and we have a fine stock of pupae available, as a result of breeding.

The larvae feed on Groundsel and Ragwort Senecio. The larvae are ringed in bright orange and black, nature's warning colours, and they absorb chemicals from the foodplant that adversely affect predators who ignore the warning. Ragwort is a mis-understood plant that provides an abundance of nectar to bees, butterflies and other insects. There is evidence that Ragwort plants that are pulled up and left to dry, can be detrimental to cattle and horses if they eat the dried plants. Animals can be seen grazing safely in fields containing growing green plants. There is nothing to be gained from pulling up Ragwort plants, because they are biennials that flower and die in the same year. So a patch of Ragwort can provide valuable nectar to thousands of wild insects, and be host to Cinnabar larvae and, job completed, it dies at the end of summer. 

The Cinnabar moth flies by day, more than by night, and is protected from predators, by the very striking colours of charcoal and scarlet, and bitter-tasting chemicals derived from the larval foodplant, enabling the moth to display its bright colours, yet not be attacked by predators. 

Cinnabar larvae can be raised in sleeves on growing Ragwort. We find the sleeves fitted with a zip are particularly successful. When the larvae are large, if you put in the sleeve several handfuls of springy wood shavings or dried leaf litter, they will form thin silken cocoons in which to pupate.

Could you help to spread this colourful day-flying moth again in your area?

Store pupae cool for the winter, even in a fridge, loose in a plastic box, without any padding.  In May lay them out in an emerging cage and wait for the moths to emerge.


Ermine Puss Moth D erminea 5 pupae
Availability: NOW

Ermine Puss Moth Dicranura erminea

 It is quite difficult to distinguish the moth and caterpillar from the British Puss Moth. Erminea does not occur in Britain, but is found across parts of Europe. The moth emerges later than the Puss Moth, usually in June/July. The egg is completely different, being larger, flatter and coloured bright orange, rather like a spangle leaf gall. The foodplants are Poplars, Willows and Sallows.  A distinguishing feature of the larva is the white-edged saddle marking with a central “snowdrop”, not seen in the British Puss Moth. Seldom offered, give this species a try in the coming year.

£28.50 £15.95
Belted Beauty Lycia zonaria Pupae
Availability: Autumn 2021

The Belted Beauty Lycia zonaria

In Britain this species is very rare indeed, and protected. Found in only about 3 localities on sandy nutrient-poor grassland or dunes. Very scarce in Holland, where it occurs in similar coastal areas. Our stock comes from central Europe, where it is sometimes found on dry limestone slopes where the vegetation is sparse. 

Eggs are laid in batches particularly on grasses where they can be tucked into pockets and hollow stems. The larvae feed on a variety of vegetation - possibly almost anything that is growing amongst the grasses. They are recorded as feeding on Dandelion, Dock, Cow Parsley,Clovers, Kidney Vetch, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Yarrow, Creeping Willows and Sallows, Hawthorn, Coltsfoot, Plantains, Burnet Rose and even Flag Iris. The larva, starting black with prominent white spots, becomes medium green, well camouflaged colour, but with a prominent lemon yellow lateral stripe. This is a Geometer - looper caterpillar. This is one of the few moths that has a wingless female. The female rests sometimes prominently where they more easily attract males, which fly by day and by night. 

The pupa is formed only a little below the ground surface, where it spends the winter. Store winter pupae in a closed plastic box, very cool or refrigerated. To avoid desiccation don't leave in open air. In the emerging cage, keep moist at all times. See the Pupae Nest on this website. Emergence starts in the very early spring.

This is an opportunity not to be missed, to breed a very rare species and see its life history at first hand.


Pine Arches Moth Panthea coenobita cocoons SPECIAL PRICE.
Availability: NOW

Pine Arches Moth Panthea coenobita 

Special promotional price for 10 pupae, normally £29.00, NOW £20.95

An unusual species. A great opportunity to observe and photograph. 

Very seldom offered.  A Noctuid that has characteristics akin to the Tussocks. The caterpillar is beautifully coloured and patterned with tufts and tussocks of hair, giving it excellent camouflage on the twigs of its foodplants which are Pines Pinus, Spruces Abies and Larches Larix.

Coenobita is relatively unknown and few breeders have raised it. The species is found over many parts of Europe (excluding Britain) Spain and most of France. Its range extends to the Far East.


CEBALLOSI subspecies of Graellsia isabellae Pupae
Availability: Autumn

CEBALLOSI subspecies of Graellsia isabellae. Bustillo and Rubio 1974  PUPAE

Becoming hard to obtain and made worse by lockdown conditions. More are expected in the autumn, but advisable to book in advance.

This subspecies first officially recognised and described in 1974, is appreciably larger than the nominate form, and other subspecies. Only in recent years we have had the opportunity to list isabellae ceballosi  and this is one not to be missed by the specialist breeder.

 Ssp ceballosi is found in the north of Andalucia in Sierras de Segura and Cazoria, in South East Spain.  As well as being measurably larger, the eye-spots, bands and other markings are more clearly defined.

 Foodplants, as with isabellae isabellae, Pines, including Scotts Pinus sylvestris.



Madagascan Moon Moth mittrei  giant cocoons
Availability: Autumn

Madagascan Moon Moth Argema mittrei

Huge netted cocoons of silvery silk – THE biggest cocoon in the world! 

Both male and female moths are tailed but those of the male are very extreme. They are a joy to hatch out! 

They need daily spraying and a temperature of 25-30 degrees C.  Pairing of the adults is notoriously difficult but if successful, the larvae are not difficult to rear on Eucalyptus, Liquidambar or Stags Horn Sumach Rhus typhinus.  Hand-pairing has been reported to be successful but we have not tried it.

Mittrei is found only on the island of Madagascar and is quite one of the word's most exceptional moths.

Philippine Atlas Moth Attacus atlas cocoons
Availability: Spring

Giant Atlas Moth Attacus atlas, from the Philippines

Because of Covid, Philippine atlas are not being sent over as planned, but we will still have them and will send as soon as available.

Pairing is achieved in a cage that is ample for the size of the moths but not so large that they can become too separated. Larvae feed on Privet and are easily reared in conditions that are warm and moist. Atlas larvae will also feed on Tree of Heaven Ailanthus, Osier Willow Salix viminalis, Citrus and undoubtedly a number of other substitute plants outside their normal habitat.

To get moths to emerge, raise the temperature to 15 degrees C, and gradually up to 30 degrees C or more, and very humid. They need very warm and humid tropical conditions. At higher temperatures, soak the cocoons at least once or twice daily. The cocoons must drain and not be left lying in water.

Giant Atlas Moth Attacus atlas cocoons from Thailand
Availability: Oct/Nov

Giant Atlas Moth Attacus atlas

Atlas cocoons have become very difficult to obtain, particularly the dormant Thailand race, but we have good stocks immediately available, for breeding soon or they can be held cool until you wish to breed from them

The largest moth in the world.  Winter cocoons are dormant. You can choose whether to incubate them or keep them cold until the spring. To get them to emerge, raise the temperature to 15 degrees C, and gradually up to 30 degrees C or more, and very humid. They need very warm and humid tropical conditions. When hot, soak the cocoons at least once or twice daily. 

It is probably better to keep them cool (8 -12 degrees C) and dormant until mid-April, or even May, then raise the temperature and humidity as described above.  They will respond better to summer conditions.

Pairing is achieved in a cage that is ample for the size of the moths but not so large that they can become too separated.

Larvae feed on Privet Ligustrum and are easily reared in warm and moist conditions.  Atlas larvae will also feed on Tree of Heaven Ailanthus, Osier Willow Salix viminalis, Citrus and undoubtedly a number of other substitute plants outside their normal habitat.

Owl Butterfly Caligo species 4 pupae
Availability: NOW

Owl Butterfly Caligo pupae South America

By any standards, these are huge butterflies, with impressive colouring and markings, both on the upperside and with the owl-like underside. The pupae will be unspecified species but will all produce magnificent and breath-taking butterflies.

Owl Butterflies fly at dusk and dawn in particular, so they like low light conditions.

The pupae are massive, pretty well as big as any other in the world. They are naturally formed on Banana trees, which are the foodplant of the larvae, and they resemble the spent and decaying banana fronds around the trunk. Hang the pupae in an emerging cage, out of the sun, but in warm and moist conditions. A greenhouse is ideal. Let the butterflies feed on dishes of rotting fruit and do include banana, which they really love.

Provide warmth and humidity that the pupae normally experience in the tropics and sub tropics. About 30°C is ideal, and humidity above 70%. 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.

It’s a good idea to suspend the pupae. To do this, use a stick or wooden rod held horizontally. Apply a very thin line of contact adhesive eg Evostick along the rod. Lay the rod on a table and, when it is tacky but not yet set hard, touch the tails of the pupae on the line of glue. Warning: excess glue actually kills the pupa, so use just a very thin line. When the glue has set you can pick up the stick, with all the pupae hanging vertically from it.

If you don’t wish to suspend the pupae they can be laid on corrugated card. The surface must remain clean and rough. For hygiene the corrugated card needs to be replaced every few days.

Chinese Oak Silkmoth Antheraea pernyi Large cocoons fresh from CHINA
Availability: Winter

Chinese Oak Silkmoth Antheraea pernyi Large cocoons fresh from CHINA

Highly recommended for those who are looking for a spectacular moth, with LARGE exotic larvae: easily reared.  

This species used to be universally available. Over the years captive bred stocks have disappointingly become in-bred. We now have strong wild Chinese stock, starting with cocoons available from October 2019, and orders can be taken now for eggs and larvae available from May 2020.

A large species, and probably the best for beginners. Moths emerge in the spring. They pair very easily.

Eggs are laid on the sides of the cage. The larvae feed on Oak, Apple, Hawthorn, Beech, Willow and undoubtedly other trees and shrubs. Black at first, the larvae become green, with decorations of orange. The larvae become very large and eat a great deal of food. Although an oriental species, pernyi  has now become established in Europe.

There are two generations of moths each summer.