Sunday, 30 July 2017

Tolype velleda

There is a downside to rearing Lappets (Lasiocampidae). Yes, I know, that's hard to imagine, but really, there is. Many species take a long time to develop and block breeding space for months, not to mention all the extra work that comes with long broods. Take the Large Tolype Moth from North America for example. The eggs overwinter and need to stay in the fridge from autumn until spring. That's the easy part. Somewhere late April, early May, they should be brought at room temperature. They will hatch in ten to fourteen days. Then all the work begins. It takes around three to four months before they are fully grown and spin their cocoons. All that time they require fresh food and clean cages. They are relatively undemanding otherwise and except a broad range of breeding conditions and food plants. Besides the hazel (Corylus) I used, they also do well on a huge number of deciduous shrubs and trees. I will only give a few possible food plants: Quercus, Fagus, Carpinus, Betula, Alnus, Tilia, Malus, Prunus, Populus, Salix, ... . Like with all Lasiocampidae species, watch out for wet breeding conditions. Especially final instar caterpillars are rather susceptible to diseases. The moths will emerge this autumn.


Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda final instar on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda final instar on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda final instar on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda final instar on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda L6 on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda L5 on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda L4 on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda L4 on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda L3 on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda L2 on Corylus avellana

Tolype velleda caterpillar
Tolype velleda L1 on Corylus avellana

Friday, 28 July 2017

Molippa nibasa

Nibasa is always a fun species to breed. This is probably the most common member of the Central and South American Molippa genus, but not that common that you can obtain fresh stock every year. So never pass on an opportunity to rear them, it might take a few years before you get another chance. Breeding nibasa is fairly straightforward and even within the reach of newcomers. Keep clean, at room temperature, in well ventilated plastic containers and never give wet leaves or spray them with water. Especially when it's raining outside you should be careful. Bring fresh leaves indoors and wait until they have dried entirely before feeding them to your animals. When they are happy these caterpillars grow relatively fast for a member out of the Hemileucinae subfamily. All the larval stages together will not take more then four to five weeks. This species has a preference for plants out the Fabaceae (legume) family. They really thrive on Robinia pseudoacacia. Willows (Salix) are a very well accepted alternative. 


Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L6 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L5 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L5 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L5 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L5 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L4 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L3 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L2 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Molippa nibasa caterpillar
Molippa nibasa L1 on Robinia pseudoacacia

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Copaxa andescens

No, no, no ! How many times do I need to repeat this? You do not need Persea to rear Copaxa species. Not that it is a bad food plant. Persea can be useful during winter months when there is little else available, but in the summer there are plenty of other plants to choose from. The species out the decrescens/rufinans and multifenestrata groups for example thrive on Salix. Others like lavendera and mannana do well on oaks (Quercus) and the species out the cydippe group even require pines (Pinus). You see: even you can breed Copaxas. Many of them are easy to rear. Same goes for Copaxa andescens from Peru, a species out the decrescens group. So yes, of course they do well on Salix. I used both cinerea and caprea. The animals go back and forward between these two willow species, without any hesitation and grow fast. It only takes four weeks before the first ones start to spin their cocoons. This species does not require any special breeding conditions. Rear them in spacious, well ventilated plastic containers, avoid any condensation or wet leaves and they will be fine. A temperature around twenty five degrees Celsius is high enough to keep them happy. The moths will emerge within a couple of weeks.


Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L5 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L5 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L5 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L5 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L5 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L4 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L4 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L4 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L4 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L3 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L2 on Salix cinerea

Copaxa andescens caterpillar
Copaxa andescens L1 on Salix cinerea

Friday, 21 July 2017

Silkmoth of the week: Antheraea yamamai

Another classic and a lovely one. Antheraea yamamai originates from Eastern Asia (Japan, Korea, the Russian Far East and parts of China) and has been introduced in Europe (Italy, Austria, the Balkan, Hungary, Slovenia and the Czech Republic) where they now slowly spread northwards. Yamamai is a very variable species, both in size and in color. The wingspan goes from eleven to fifteen centimeter. The color ranges from grey, over yellow to chocolate brown. This Saturnid has only one flight per year, late summer/early autumn, depending on local conditions. In captivity, the earlier you take the eggs out of the fridge, the earlier the caterpillars will spin their cocoons and the earlier the moths will emerge (as early as late June, in those cases when you really couldn't resist kickstarting your breeding season early March and started rearing them on for example Crataegus).


Antheraea yamamai male
Antheraea yamamai male

Antheraea yamamai female
Antheraea yamamai female

Antheraea yamamai male
Antheraea yamamai male

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Phyllodesma japonica

This wasn't the most successful brood of the year. Everything started well. They simply rushed through the first four instars. That was because we had a fairly cool start of the Spring. But, then suddenly temperatures started rising and it stopped raining for weeks. When the heatwave reached its peak with temperatures around 34°C most of the caterpillars started to die. Too extreme breeding conditions, it rarely ends well. Especially not with Phyllodesma species which generally prefer more moderate conditions, with temperatures between twenty and twenty five degrees Celsius. They are best kept in netted cages when they reach the fourth instar, to allow for a good airflow. The pupal stage is short after the first generation. Under warmer conditions they almost always produce a second flight in August. The pupae of the second generation will overwinter.


Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L5 on Salix cinerea

Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L5 on Salix cinerea

Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L5 on Salix cinerea

Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L4 on Salix cinerea

Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L4 on Salix cinerea

Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L4 on Salix cinerea

Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L4 on Salix cinerea

Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L3 on Salix cinerea

Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L2 on Salix cinerea

Phyllodesma japonica caterpillar
Phyllodesma japonica L1 on Salix cinerea