Silkmoths - Saturniidae

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mothman27
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Postmothman27 on 11/7/2016, 1:27 pm

Does anyone here breed silkmoths?
This site is realy helpful: mookssilkyworld.freeforums.net

I have bred 10 species so far.
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T.C.
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PostT.C. on 11/16/2016, 1:28 pm

I looked into it, did some reading. Then when i got on the hunt I couldn't find any at all? I will look again this spring, any ideas on the best places to look?
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Postmothman27 on 11/16/2016, 3:03 pm

Cocoons:
*Promethea can be found hanging in trees, they prefer cherry but can also eat others including sweetgum and tulip tree.
*Tulip Tree silkmoths look the same as promethea except they are only found in tulip trees(you may be out of their range).
*For some reason luna moths are hard to find as cocoons but may be found at the base of birch trees.
*Polyphemus are the most common and can be found in leaf litter, in mulching and many other places( I have found lots more of these than other species).
*imperial moths, regal moths, rosy maple moths and many others pupate underground so are hardly ever found by looking.
*io moths are found on the ground, often near redbud trees.
*Cecropia moth cocoons are very large and can be found on the trunk of the tree or other places. I have found them on elm and silver maple.

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Postmothman27 on 11/16/2016, 3:04 pm

Adult Moths:
At lights is by far the most productive method ever.
You can check porch lights. You can set up a "Light Sheet" (google moth light sheet for images). I have used this method for the last two years with success. I bought two blacklights and a Mercury Vapor to go with it.
So far I have collected 7 silkmoth species at my house.
To get eggs: first make sure your moth is a female by checking the size of the antennae. Unfortunately females are a little less common at lights than males. Just put it into a paper bag and leave overnight and in almost all cases she will lay eggs.
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PostT.C. on 11/16/2016, 3:06 pm

Very, very, helpful, thank you.
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Postmothman27 on 11/16/2016, 3:16 pm

Sure.
Luna Moths that I hatched this spring:
Cecropia eggs:

Cecropia cocoon:


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PostT.C. on 11/16/2016, 6:37 pm

That's Amazing! So your Adult Luna Moths, what are those in, a shed or something. I noticed you put up a wire like window in place of glass i assume so they aren't crashing into the windows. Very Nice. Smile
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Postmothman27 on 11/16/2016, 7:15 pm

Actually it is a window in my house. Originally the window had glass on the inside and then a fine mesh screen on the outside with about a 2 1/2 inch gap between the two. I pushed the fine screen up and cut a piece to fit out of larger wire. The glass is pushed up in the picture but is typically closed. I store my cocoons in windows, this way they are exposed to the natural conditions/temps and yet I can keep an eye on them when they hatch and they cannot escape. Works pretty well. One downfall is that the can get very active at night and beat their wings up. Oh yeah! The main reason I have larger wire is so the females can scent and attract wild males and then mate through the screen and at the same time the female cannot fly away. then I have a fertilized female. Sometimes I can also capture the male that comes. not all windows will work like this unfortunately.
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PostT.C. on 11/16/2016, 8:11 pm

That is awesome, real clever! I especially like how you can get them to mate without ever even catching or seeing the male!
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Postnatureguy on 11/17/2016, 11:06 am

Wow, Amazing! Like T.C. I am in Wisconsin. I actually know him personally. Wink But is their Luna Moths even in my area?
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Postmothman27 on 11/17/2016, 12:34 pm

For sure.
I would bet you could find polyphemus, luna, and promethea.
Also cecropia and if you are in the northern part even Hyalophora columbia, I am not so lucky as to be far enough north. Would be very cool if you could get them though. I bet you could find the smaller ones too including the io moth.
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Postmothman27 on 11/17/2016, 12:55 pm

Here are some more of my rearing photos:

Antheraea polyphemus









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Postmothman27 on 11/17/2016, 12:57 pm

I forgot to mention citheronia. I personaly haven't collected Citheronia regalis or Citheronia sepulcralis. You may get regalis if you are in southern WI. You also probably will find Eacles imperialis, my personal favorite. If you are in Northern then you may get sub-species "pini".
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Postmothman27 on 11/17/2016, 1:07 pm

Hyalophora cecropia









More I can upload later of different species. These were the two species I raised in 2015.
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PostT.C. on 11/17/2016, 5:27 pm

This is absolutely awesome! I have not been lucky enough to come across any luna moth caterpillars. pale I did manage to get my hands on some monarch butterflies caterpillars though which are becoming rarer all the time. Smile Also nice photographs.
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Postmothman27 on 11/19/2016, 12:59 pm

Imperial Moth - Eacles imperialis
My favorite native insect. I have not raised this species but I have found wild ones.
The caterpillars and moths are huge!




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Postmothman27 on 11/19/2016, 1:03 pm

Actias luna - Luna moth



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PostT.C. on 11/19/2016, 1:52 pm

I Like the pictures, are those cocoons below the Luna moths Luna moth cocoons?
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Postmothman27 on 11/19/2016, 2:07 pm

Yes. They are the same size and shape as polyphemus except the luna cocoons are much thinner. like tough paper. The polyphemus are very heavily built.
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Postnatureguy on 11/21/2016, 1:59 pm

Why do all you members here have to go making me jealous with all your pictures? lol Smile Very nice photos. Those caterpillars with the red, yellow and blue, what species? Sorry if you told us, I didn't catch the name though. They look like they got fireworks coming off there backs. Very Happy
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Postmothman27 on 11/21/2016, 2:08 pm

Glad you enjoyed them. They are Hyalophora cecropia - The Cecropia Moth. This has the largest wingspan of any insect in North America. I agree, they are very striking caterpillars.
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PostCanadian anter on 12/14/2016, 7:20 am

I have Automeris io, Actias luna, Hylaphora cecropia, Hylaphora columbia, Callosamia promethea, Rosy maples and Samia cynthia. I am planning to try Antherea polyphemeus and Eacles imperialis next year. However, I am just out of range for Callosamia agulifera I wish I could get those
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PostT.C. on 12/14/2016, 8:42 am

@Canadian anter wrote:I have Automeris io, Actias luna, Hylaphora cecropia, Hylaphora columbia, Callosamia promethea, Rosy maples and Samia cynthia. I am planning to try Antherea polyphemeus and Eacles imperialis next year. However, I am just out of range for Callosamia agulifera I wish I could get those

Yeah, I have yet to find them luna moth caterpillars. I have seen the moth once over the summer, but in some years you don't even see the moth, let alone the caterpillar.
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PostKevinswither on 1/3/2017, 1:02 pm

How do you feed these guys? I am from Phoenix and I only have three olive trees in my yard.
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Postmothman27 on 1/3/2017, 7:30 pm

Phoenix? You must get great bugs! SE AZ has the best in the US as far as moths. Sphingicampa, eacles oslari, D. howardii, C. gloriosa, H. columbia gloveri, D. granti, C. splendens just to name a few!

Olive trees are related to Ash and Lilac so if the species eats one of those I would try with the olive.

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