Butterflies and moths

galeogirl

Arachnoprince
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Aug 15, 2002
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I noticed during one of my many internet searches for invert info that butterfly and moth keeping appears to be immensely popular in Europe and Japan. They seem like they would be trickier to keep than other inverts, has anyone here tried raising them?

What are their care requirements and how do you cage them without having to build an aviary?
 

Wade

Arachnoking
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Aug 16, 2002
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I suspect that most people who do this priavtely are doing it with the goal of having pinned specimens rather than keeping the adults alive. Of course, if you have a greenhouse...

In the US, the USDA is pretty strict about importing plant-feeding exotic insects. If you want to try it, you'll probably be limted to species you can catch yourself.

I have bred and raised polyphemus moths. These are large saturniid moths. The adult moth does not feed and lives less than a week, but if I put a newly emerged female in a wire cage and leave it ouside overnight, wild males will come and mate with her and I can raise the catepillers, which eat oak leaves. Other saturniids include cecropia and luna moths, also easy to raise. "easy" in the sense of not complicated, but collecting food plants for the catepillars is a lot of work. I like the saturniids because the catepillars themselves are huge and impressive beasts, think "Heimlic" from the movie "A Bug's Life".

Catepillar care for most isn't difficult, but they generally do best in screen or mesh enclosures. Poor ventilation kills them off very quickly.

Wade
 

galeogirl

Arachnoprince
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Joined
Aug 15, 2002
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We actually are hoping to build a small greenhouse next spring if we can afford it. I was thinking that it might be neat to raise a few native butterflies in there and release them. (Oregon unfortunately has a growing list of endangered native species - too much development with too little foresight) I guess I need to go scour the bookshelves at Powell's Books for a decent local identification guide.
 
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