WINTER PUPAE for breeding in the following season

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Kentish Glory E versicolora  TEN pupae at a BARGAIN PRICE!
Availability: Autumn


Kentish Glory  Endromis versicolora 

Store pupae refrigerated until February/March when the adults emerge and breed. Provide Birch twigs for females to lay their clusters of yellow eggs. In normal cold conditions, the eggs don't hatch before the foodplant buds open.  

This species is now found only in Scotland, and parts of Central Europe. These are European stock. Emerging as early as February. The first eggs and larvae are ready in March.  Clusters of bright yellow eggs are laid on bare Birch twigs.  Just go out and cut some twigs and arrange them in the cage. The eggs gradually change to a deep purple colour which matches the colour of the twigs. In captivity, the eggs can hatch before the Birch buds are open, so keep some twigs warm inside, standing in water, to get them to sprout.

If you can sleeve the larvae on a growing plant, potted or in the ground, rearing is very easy. The larvae, black at first,  cluster on the twigs. Later they are green and spread out a little, clinging on to the twigs, they look just like Birch catkins. Absolute masters of camouflage. In May the larvae pupate in leaf litter and settle down until the new season starts again in February. This is a very easy species: just make sure you have enough growing foodplant (it can be in pots). The male and female moths share the same patterning, but the female is much larger and the male has particularly rich chestnut markings. Pairing is easy. Just leave the moths together and Nature takes care of things.

Note Kentish Glory larvae can also be fed on Hazel, Alder, Hornbeam, and Lime. It is probable that other alternative tree species may be used as foodplant.

Our thanks to Jens Stolt who has kindly allowed us to use his beautiful illustration of the life history of this rare species.

 

£38.00 £20.00
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.

 

Small Eggar Moth Eriogaster lanestris cocoons
Availability: Autumn


Small Eggar Moth Eriogaster lanestris 

The moths emerge in March/April. On receipt of the pupae they should be refrigerated until spring. The moths form inside the cocoon in late winter. The moment the temperature rises, they burst forth, and it is inadvisable to let them do this too early, or any fertile eggs might hatch before there is any foodplant.

Because of modern practice of hedge management, this once common species is nowadays a rare find. Tight clipping of hedges destroys the habitat and undoubtedly the eggs and larvae.

Egg clusters are laid in batches, covered with black fluff from the tip of the female's abdomen, on branches of the foodplant Blackthorn Prunus spinosa or Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna. The larvae cluster, and even large larvae live within, and on the outsite of a prominent white tent of silk, very often at the end of a branch, with no attempt at concealment. It is likely that the larvae in captivity could be reared on Apple and Plum, though we have not tried these.

Don't be tempted to handle the larvae. They have short, decorative hairs, which easily come away and if they penetrate the skin, like short cactus prickles, this can give rise to intense irritation. No doubt this is why the larvae can afford to display themselves in the wild so openly. No predator will try to eat them once they learn, and the larvae are patterned in warning colours to advertise the danger.

To pupate, the larvae descend to form a tight cocoon with a smooth shell-like a nut, in concealed leaf litter or moss, where they spend the winter. In early spring, the moths are fully formed within the pupal shell, ready to emerge the moment they sense that conditions are right. If you take the nut-like cocoons from the cold and put them into room temperature, the moths will suddenly break open the ends of the cocoons and there will be a whole lot of moths in a very short time!

You might help to spread the species locally if you can find thorn hedges that are not regularly trimmed. Cocoons are immediately available. Keep them in the fridge until April. You will enjoy observing this species, in all its interesting stages, and maybe could introduce it to your area.

 

Tau Emperor Aglia tau Pupae
Availability: Autumn


Tau Emperor Aglia tau

This European Silkmoth emerges about the same time as the Emperor Moth, in early spring, and is in the same family of Silkmoths (Saturniidae).  Very easy to breed: lay the pupae out in February for March/April emergence. The moths fly and pair by day, and particularly appreciate sunshine.  Eggs are laid on the cage sides. 

The young larvae are adorned with antlers, as impressive as the American Hicory Horned Devils! Foodplants include Lime, Oak, Birch, Hawthorn, and other trees and shrubs. Pupation is in leaf litter. Single brooded.

Highly recommended.



 





 

Emperor Moth pavonia  cocoons
Availability: Autumn 2021


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!

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: Summer


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.

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, 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.

Bullseye Moth Automeris io  cocoons
Availability: Autumn


Bullseye Moth Automeris io North America 

This small silkmoth has a number of interesting characteristics. The male and female are distinctly different colours – both have the enormous eye markings on the hindwings which are exposed when the moth is disturbed. The larvae are covered by branched spines – don’t touch them – they sting like a nettle. They are gregarious until the larvae are quite large, changing colour at each skin change. Very interesting and easy to rear.

For pairing, keep the moths in a cage the size of the Pyjama Mini Cage. Fertile eggs develop a black dot which is the micropyle, through which the embryo breathes. A useful indicator of fertility, not present in most other species.

The larvae are polyphagous, ie they will accept a wide variety of foodplants, which include such trees as Oak, Lime, Willow, Hazel, Bramble, Apple, Hawthorn and more.