Sunday, 20 August 2017

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana

The caterpillars displayed today are extremely easy to rear. This Mexican Saturnid requires absolutely nothing special, which makes them suitable for newcomers to this hobby. Just watch out, they sting. It's not as painful as some other members of the Hemileucinae subfamily, but still, don't touch them. Keep the larvae around twenty five degrees during the day (it really doesn't matter if it's a bit lower or higher, just don't make it too extreme). As fresh breeding stock usually becomes available at the start of the summer (northern hemisphere), this should not be a problem for most of you. For the rest, keep clean and completely dry. No spraying with water. You really should get that spraying thing under control, that's such a nasty habit, it gets most of your larvae killed. There are very few caterpillars that benefit from regular spraying and chiapasiana is definitely not one of them. This also means that you need to be careful when it's raining. Wait until the leaves have dried completely before giving it to your animals (or cut, bring indoors, let dry and then feed it to your caterpillars). This species can be reared in well ventilated plastic containers. As food plants they accept a wide range of plants. You can use Quercus, Fagus, Corylus, Juglans or relatives, but also Salix and Populus and probably a lot of other plants. I used Carpinus betulus for this brood. Even though it's possible that there will be a (partial) second flight this autumn (depends on the temperature), I expect most of the pupae to overwinter and to hatch next Spring. 


Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana final instar on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana final instar on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana final instar on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana final instar on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana final instar on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana final instar on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L6 on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L6 on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L6 on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L5 on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L5 on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L5 on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L4 on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L3 on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L3 on Carpinus betulus

Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana
Lemaireodirphia chiapasiana L1/L2 on Carpinus betulus

Friday, 18 August 2017

Silkmoth of the week: Copaxa andescens

Copaxa andescens is a fairly recently (2012) described species out of the decrescens group. This one is in many aspects similar to Copaxa decrescens. It's a species that broods continuously at a normal living room temperature, with a pupal stage of three to four weeks. The caterpillars grow fast, so under the right circumstances there is a next generation every three months (give or take). Andescens only occurs from Colombia, throughout eastern Ecuador south to eastern Peru. The moths in this post originate from Oxapampa (central Peru). Like decrescens, this species is not very large. The wingspan is somewhere between nine and eleven centimeter.


Copaxa andescens male
Copaxa andescens male - Origin: Peru

Copaxa andescens female
Copaxa andescens female - Origin: Peru

Copaxa andescens male
Copaxa andescens male - Origin: Peru

Copaxa andescens female
Copaxa andescens female - Origin: Peru

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Opodiphthera eucalypti

They are beautiful, ain't they? Be warned though, they can be tricky. If they don't like your breeding conditions they usually will not make it past fourth instar. This is the point where many eucalypti broods start to collapse. Even when they grow fast before, this is no guarantee that they make it to the final stage. Be especially careful with fluctuating temperatures. A sudden cooling off - something that happens quite often during a Belgian summer, so I have first hand experience with this - can trigger a viral outbreak that wipes out the entire brood in only a few days. That was the bad news. The good news is that when they like your breeding conditions, they are amongst the easiest Saturnids to rear. They always do best on Eucalyptus species. It doesn't seem to matter much, which species, but they do have a preference for the younger and softer leaves. Liquidambar is a good alternative. Other food plants that are often mentioned on the Internet, like Betula and Pinus, are a lot less suitable and should only be used when there really isn't anything else available.When the larvae are happy, the growth will be very fast. They will go through all stages in around four weeks.


Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L5 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L5 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L5 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L5 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L5 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L5 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L5 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L4 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L3 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L3 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L3 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L2 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L2 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Opodiphthera eucalypti caterpillar
Opodiphthera eucalypti L1 on Eucalyptus pauciflora

Friday, 11 August 2017

Automeris stacieae

Oh, it's one of those again. Yep, you're right. Automeris stacieae belongs to a fairly large group of Mexican Automeris species with caterpillars that all look very similar. They also have in common that they usually prefer Robinia pseudoacacia or other Fabaceae as food plants. You could use Quercus, especially oaks out of the white oaks group like robur or ilex, but that is just making things more difficult. Do yourself a favor and stick with Robinia. This species is somewhat larger then comparable species, with caterpillars growing to a nice seven to eight centimeter. The breeding is pretty straightforward. Keep them at living room temperature, avoid to much fluctuating in temperature and humidity, keep clean and especially - as you are going to breed them on Robinia like I just told you - watch the food. Cut Robinia is a pest to keep fresh. You probably will have to change the leaves daily. The larvae grow fast and should spin a cocoon within five weeks. Normally, this species only produces one flight per year. The pupae overwinter in a cool room.


Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L7 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L5 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L4/L5 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L4 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L3 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L2 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Automeris stacieae caterpillar
Automeris stacieae L1 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Automeris zephyria

The best food plants for rearing Automeris zephyria are without any doubt willow species (Salix). I used Salix cinerea and caprea for this brood. There are other plants that you can use, like oak (Quercus), apple (Malus) and roses (Rosa). However, many breeders report that they just grow better, larger and faster on willow. This Automeris comes from mountains in New Mexico and West Texas (USA). That should give you an idea on how to rear them. First instars do well in small, ventilated plastic containers. Later instars appreciate a lot of fresh air, so either keep them in a netted cage or in large plastic tubs only covered with some fine netting. Make sure temperatures don't get too high. Stay in between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius during the day and allow for a good cooling off at night. This species only has one flight per year. The cocoons overwinter.


Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L7 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L7 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L7 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L7 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L6 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L6 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L5/L4 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L4 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L3 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L2 on Salix cinerea

Automeris zephyria caterpillar
Automeris zephyria L1 on Salix cinerea