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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Monarch Butterfly (Milkweed) Danaus plexippus  5 pupae
Availability: From April


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.

Pupae are received most months spring to autumn, not to any specific date.

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 +vat
Emperor Moth pavonia  cocoons
Availability: Autumn


Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia

Britain’s only Silkmoth. The male and female have similar markings, but the female is larger, and the male is more brightly coloured.

Emergence is in March/April.  Pairing is easy – if you have a female, she may attract males from miles away. The Emperor Moth occurs in many rural areas but is particularly found on heaths, where they breed on Heathers. The larvae feed on a variety of plants, including Bramble, Raspberry, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Apple, Plum, Blackthorn, Oak, Hornbeam, Birch, Heathers and Heaths, Blueberry, Meadowsweet, Wild Rose, Sea Buckthorn, Purple Loosestrife, Willows especially Osier Salix viminalis, Pussy Willow (Sallow).

The caterpillars cluster in the early instars, eventually spreading out and becoming brightly coloured, as beautiful as such exotics as the Moon Moths. The cocoon is spun in the foodplant. An interesting construction with a neck and open end, through which the adult emerges. 

Store cocoons in a plastic box in a fridge until March. The moths normally emerge in April.

This is one of the fun species to rear.  Demand for this species is high. Please order early.

Giant Peacock Moth pyri Cocoons
Availability: Autumn


Giant Peacock Moth Saturnia pyri

Magnificent - Europe’s largest moth. Flies in May, pairs easily and lays prodigiously. Exotic looking larvae.
Rear the larvae in warm, dry conditions. They are very easy to rear in the first instars and extra care is needed to bring them through the final instars. They repay proper care, growing fast and changing colour.

The large larva is as handsome as the tropical Saturniidae and has much in common with Moon Moth larvae, but with sapphire blue tubercles. They do well on Blackthorn and Plum and will often feed on other fruit trees and HawthornWillows, Alder and Birch.

Ligurian Emperor Saturnia pavoniella Cocoons
Availability: Autumn



Ligurian Emperor Moth Saturnia pavoniella 

Slightly larger than our Emperor. A joy to breed: with amazingly varied larvae, quite distinct from Emperor larvae.

Although the moth is similar to our Emperor Moth pavonia, pavoniella male has a paler band on the hindwing inner margin. There are other differences in appearance and the intensity of pattern, particularly in the male.

Large larvae are quite distinct from those of pavonia, and very diverse in their colouring (see pictures). Foodplants are the same as for pavonia and include Apple, Plum, Blackthorn, Bramble, Hawthorn, Heather, Willow, Birch, and many others. Pavoniella females pair several times (pavonia only once). The two species hybridise easily but the progeny of hybrids of pavonia with pavoniella are infertile, which indicates that pavoniella is a true species. Pavoniella is found in central Europe, extending south to Greece and for some distance into Turkey and well into Asia Minor.

Pairing is very easy in sunshine. Rearing the larvae is most rewarding and interesting. Do give this species a try!

Attacus lorquinii  cocoons
Availability: NOW


Attacus lorquinii - Philippines 

This species, endemic to the Philippines, is characterised by the prominent red lines and markings across the wings. 

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.The larvae feed on Privet. They appreciate humidity and a temperature of at least 25 degrees C.

 

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.

£16.95 +vat
Chinese Oak Silkmoth Antheraea pernyi Large cocoons fresh from CHINA
Availability: NOW


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, and orders can be taken now for eggs and larvae available from May.

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.

Oak Silkmoth polyphemus  cocoons
Availability: Autumn


American Oak Silkmoth Antheraea polyphemus

The hindwings of both sexes have huge target eyespots. Pairing sometimes easy, other times changes of setup are needed.  The female lays a large number of eggs.

The larvae are easy to rear on Oak or Osier Willow. Along the sides of larger larvae there are silver spangles, like drops of mercury. Lovely larvae to rear.

They are also reported to feed on Hawthorn,Oak, Birch, Willow, Sallow, Maple, Apple, Cherry, Alder, Elm. Also try Walnut, Pseudacacia, Sumac Rhus typhina.

Owl Butterfly Caligo atreus two pupae
Availability: NOW


Owl Butterfly Caligo atreus pupae

 

This is one of the largest South American butterflies and magnificently coloured, on a par with Morphos for impressiveness and beauty.

The underside not only has the characteristic huge owl eye markings, but it is uniquely patterned with complicated cream areas.

Like Morpho butterflies, the Owl species are crepuscular, flying mainly at dusk and dawn. They feed avidly from rotting fruit.  If you are lucky enough to have a tropical greenhouse you can expect these to breed in the presence of the larval foodplant, Banana trees. If you don't have such conditions you might be lucky in these warm conditions if you use a large cage with potted banana plants.

Owl Butterfly pupae are vast - at least the size of the Birdwing pupae - and they resemble folded decaying leaves of the Banana tree, on which the larvae have been feeding. Suspend the pupae from the tail, in suitably warm, shaded and moist conditions, sit back and await one of the greatest experiences of nature!

£15.95 +vat
American Moon Moth Actias luna Cocoons
Availability: Autumn 2024


American Moon Moth Actias luna North America

A very attractive Moon Moth that emerges from May and breeds exceptionally easily.  The larvae feed well on Walnut, Birch, Osier Willow, Liquidambar, Plane, Maples, Aspen, Plum, Sallow,  Several kinds of Oak and maybe other foodplants.

A second brood is produced in late summer. Winter is passed in the cocoon stage. Store them cold from November until April. May is the normal emergence time for the first brood.