Friday, 25 November 2016

Silkmoth of the week: Copaxa rufinans

Copaxa rufinans is one of the more common Copaxa species and flies from Mexico throughout Central America, south via Colombia to Ecuador. It's a very variable species, which has very light and very dark brown forms. The pink on the upper side, especially the forewings, is something all forms have in common and is what separates rufinans from other Copaxa species. They are not very large. The wingspan is somewhere between ten and eleven centimeter. This species broods continuously as long as the temperature does not drop below a normal living room temperature. The pupal stage can be very short. I had cocoons already hatching after only two weeks.


Copaxa rufinans male
Copaxa rufinans male - Origin: Guatemala

Copaxa rufinans female  - Origin: Guatemala

Friday, 18 November 2016

The Sphingids: Hyles tithymali

Hyles tithymali broods continuously. In captivity they usualy have a pupal stage of only two weeks. Wild populations have peak flights in spring and after rainy periods, with only few or none adults during the hot months between May and September. This species is found from the Canary and Cape Verde Islands, through Northern Africa (Senegal, Mauretania and Morocco east to Egypt, with a separate population in Yemen) in several subspecies (tithymali, deserticola, mauretanica, gecki and himyarensis). This species crossbreeds easily with the closely related Hyles euphorbiae. Hybrid populations are found on Malta (Sammuti) and coastal Spain and Portugal. The typical wingspan is between seven and eight centimeter, although dwarf forms of only four centimeter have been found in very hot and dry areas.


Hyles tithymali
Hyles tithymali - Origin: Canary Islands

Friday, 11 November 2016

Copaxa rufinans

It's amazing how many Copaxa species can be kept on Salix. Usually, Persea is the most mentioned food plant when people talk about the Copaxa genus and it's true that wild populations often use Lauraceae (including Persea) as a natural host. Most Europeans will not be able to find Persea. For all those people: try Salix cinerea or Salix caprea. The species in this post, Copaxa rufinans, is only one exemple. Of course, not all Copaxa species will accept Salix, but you will be surprised how many do. Rufinans thrives on the stuff. Keep this species in well ventilated plastic containers at a normal room temperature and average humidity. They grow relatively fast and start to spin a cocoon after only four weeks.


Copaxa rufinans caterpillar
Copaxa rufinans L5 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa rufinans caterpillar
Copaxa rufinans L5 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa rufinans caterpillar
Copaxa rufinans L5 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa rufinans caterpillar
Copaxa rufinans L4 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa rufinans caterpillar
Copaxa rufinans L3 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa rufinans caterpillar
Copaxa rufinans L3 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa rufinans caterpillar
Copaxa rufinans L3 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa rufinans caterpillar
Copaxa rufinans L2 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa rufinans caterpillar
Copaxa rufinans L1 on Salix cinerea

Friday, 4 November 2016

Hyles tithymali

Like typical Hyles caterpillars, the tithymali larvae grow fast. After less then four weeks they are ready to pupate. At that moment they are seven to eight centimeter long. They prefer shrubby Euphorbia species like regis-jubae, lamarckii and paralias. In captivity they take many other Euphorbia species. The animals in the pictures were fed Euphorbia mellifera, but I could have used characias or myrsinitis. This is a species of hot and dry areas. The first two instars can be kept in well ventilated plastic containers. Later instars should be moved to netted cages. Room temperature is an absolute minimum. Do not give wet leaves. The cage is best placed in a bright spot close to a window. The moths will emerge this autumn, after a short pupal stage of two to three weeks.


Hyles tithymali caterpillar
Hyles tithymali L5 on Euphorbia mellifera

Hyles tithymali caterpillar
Hyles tithymali L5 on Euphorbia mellifera


Hyles tithymali caterpillar
Hyles tithymali L5 on Euphorbia mellifera


Hyles tithymali caterpillar
Hyles tithymali L5 on Euphorbia mellifera


Hyles tithymali caterpillar
Hyles tithymali L4 on Euphorbia mellifera



Hyles tithymali caterpillar
Hyles tithymali L4 on Euphorbia mellifera


Hyles tithymali caterpillar
Hyles tithymali L3 on Euphorbia mellifera


Hyles tithymali caterpillar
Hyles tithymali L2 on Euphorbia mellifera


Hyles tithymali caterpillar
Hyles tithymali L1 on Euphorbia mellifera