Monday, 28 March 2016

Lemonia taraxaci

I'm still not used to treating the Lemonia species as part of the Brahmaeidae, it just feels wrong. The caterpillars of the former Lemoniidae look too different from what you would expect of owl moths. The growth rate is the same though. Once taken out of the fridge where they have to stay all winter, the eggs hatch within eight days (depending on temperature). And then the caterpillars start to eat and eat and eat. It doesn't take more then four weeks before they are fully grown. The moths are only medium sized, so the caterpillars don't get too big. When they are in between five and six centimeter they are ready to pupate. In the wild, the eggs hatch somewhere between April and June. In captivity you can take them out of the fridge much earlier. These are fun to have an early start of your breeding season. They grow well in small plastic ice cream boxes, with a mesh cover. Finding food isn't an issue for most people. The caterpillars prefer Asteraceae, especially Taraxacum (dandelion), Lactuca (salad), Sonchus (sow thistle) and Cichorium (endive). They switch without hesitation between these plants. You can buy some bio salad at the market or pull some weed out of your garden, it does not matter much to them, as long as the leaves ain't too wet. The moths will emerge somewhere between the end of August and early October.


Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L5 on Taraxacum

Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L5 on Taraxacum

Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L5 on Taraxacum

Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L5 on Taraxacum

Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L4 on Taraxacum

Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L4 on Taraxacum

Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L3 on Taraxacum

Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L3 on Taraxacum

Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L2 on Taraxacum

Lemonia taraxaci caterpillar
Lemonia taraxaci L1 on Taraxacum

Friday, 11 March 2016

Dirphia avia

It has been a while since I've bred this south American species. I almost had forgotten how beautiful and easy these caterpillars are. This is also a very nice species for newcomers. Basically everybody can breed them. Keep them at a normal living room temperature and in well ventilated plastic containers and they grow without any problem. The only thing you will need to do is clean the cage and give them fresh leaves once every other day. That's the upside of Prunus laurocerasus. Even cut branches stay fresh for quite long. Alternatively, other Rosaceae can be used (Rosa, Crataegus, Malus, ...), but also Quercus, Fagus and Salix. Depending on the temperature, it takes six to eight weeks before they are full grown. The pupae should hatch this spring.



Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia final instar on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia final instar on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia final instar on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia final instar on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia final instar on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia final instar on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia L5 on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia L5 on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia L4 on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia L3 on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia L2 on Prunus laurocerasus

Dirphia avia caterpillar
Dirphia avia L1 on Prunus laurocerasus

Friday, 4 March 2016

Epiphora (bauhiniae) atbarina

Epiphora bauhiniae is widespread throughout a large part of Africa. No surprise that several subspecies have been described. Atbarina (also known as subspecies sudanica) is one of them and occurs in the eastern part of central Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan to Rwanda). Some authors (like D'Abrera) see atbarina as a valid species. When you are breeding them, all those species or subspecies discussions are of no importance. Whether they are a species or not, keeping them alive remains equally difficult. For these guys it's quite simple: either they like your house and will grow fast without any problems or they don't like it in which case you will struggle the entire brood to keep none or only very few alive at the end. Therefore I will not give any breeding tips, except for keep them warm and fairly dry. The best food plant to use is a Zizyphus species. Ceanothus is a good alternative.


Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L5 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L5 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L5 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L5 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L4 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L4 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L4 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L3 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L3 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L2 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L2 on Ceanothus

Epiphora atbarina caterpillar
Epiphora atbarina L1 on Ceanothus