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Discussion Starter #1
I had my first cecropia moth caterpillars start hatching last night =D. The last adult moth died a few days ago. So now the cycle begins anew! I've already raised over a dozen monarchs this spring. I also plan to try a new species, the luna moth, this year.

Here is the first cecropia moth from earlier this spring.
Baby cecropia caterpillars hatching <3 <3







The first batch of monarchs from about a week ago. They are currently chrysalises and should be butterflies in a few days =3.

 

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So beautiful but um.... BIG. I'd seriously freak out if one landed on me but I guess if you raise them yourself, it's different.

What do you do with them after they all grow?
 

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Wow!
Where do you get your moths/butterflies?
I absolutely love butterflies. and there are some moths out there that look better than butterflies!

My parents went to Aruba, and theres this butterfly sanctuary they went to. Apparently there are these lizzards, all over the island, and they eat the butterflies, but not the wings. So, all over the sanctuary, there are bright, colorful wings all over the ground! A lady was cleaning up the wings, andmy mom asked if she could have them...and the lady gave em to her! She took em home to Rhode Island, and we laminated them...They are so beautiful!

We always have monarchs that lay eggs in our backyard..we have milk weeds all over to encourage them to come see us!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow!
Where do you get your moths/butterflies?
I absolutely love butterflies. and there are some moths out there that look better than butterflies!

My parents went to Aruba, and theres this butterfly sanctuary they went to. Apparently there are these lizzards, all over the island, and they eat the butterflies, but not the wings. So, all over the sanctuary, there are bright, colorful wings all over the ground! A lady was cleaning up the wings, andmy mom asked if she could have them...and the lady gave em to her! She took em home to Rhode Island, and we laminated them...They are so beautiful!

We always have monarchs that lay eggs in our backyard..we have milk weeds all over to encourage them to come see us!
The Silk moths come from here. Everything there is harmless except the Io Moth which has true stinging caterpillar. The monarch eggs I collect from outside as they are easy to find and have a pretty sad survival rate out there anyway. Raising the moths is a bit harder then monarchs. Especially when they first hatch they need humidity not too low or too high. You always have a pretty good die off at the beginning for various reasons. A significant percent for example will refuse to take to the offered host plant.

I personally like the caterpillars more then the adult moths. The adult moths are very pretty but they lack the amusing weirdness of the caterpillars. The cecropia cats will make the monarch cats look very drab in a few weeks ;-)

Some people love handling the moths others won't be in the same room with them if their cage is open lol. The adult moths end up various places. The ones I keep I tend to give away to my university if they are decent shape when they die. Some get set free others I give live to school teachers and so on depending how many I have. Same with the caterpillars, I give out some eggs, but I prefer raising the caterpillars till they are a few weeks old as their chances are much much better that way. They are very low maintenance for the most part. I keep mine in plastic containers/bins. They start out in little ziplock containers and move up to a 10 gallon storage bin. Towards the end of the caterpillar stage the cecropias do require large amounts of food and produce an equally large amount of waste. Its best to replace their food and washout the bin every other day at that stage. Typical caterpillar keeper is seen often on walks mauling trees :roll:
 

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first off i want to thank you for sharing the pictures,i adore moths and butterflies.
I would gladly sit in amongst them all day if i could,i don't know what it is
about them but i find them almost mystical,and hypnotising :shock:
thanks again,and please keep up the pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The cecropias are starting to reach the 2nd instar(first shedding). No more boring black ^_^. I did a rough count last time I cleaned the containers out and there are about 200 of them:shock:. I had very little die off so far compared to normal. I ordered some more cecropia eggs too add some new genes into the ones I keep. Those should hatch in a few days. I also got some macro lenses for my camera.






The luna moth eggs I ordered also started hatching this morning. Spent half the day hoping they would take to wild cherry which is what the cecropias eat but didn't seem to be working so I am trying walnut now which they are taking to slowly.

 

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wow i hope they take to it,otherwise what will you do ?
 

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I saw this amazing looking moth last night, and was reminded of this thread. I know it's not a caterpillar, but it was at one point. : )





I know next to nothing about moths, so trying to identify this little guy has been difficult. Do you have any idea?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Thats a cool moth, unfortunately I know next to nothing about moths in your location.

My caterpillars started reaching the 3rd molting/instar today. I'm starting to ask around for people or nature centers that want some of them. I am probably still gonna end up releasing 100+ of them into the wild. The 3rd and 4th instars are the prettiest IMO. They look funny right after they shed with huge head and feet lol. FYI these guys are totally harmless and can not bite, sting or even poke you. The spines are not hard to the touch but usually enough to discourage a bird from swallowing them along with the warning colors. They are not poisonous however.





Most the luna caterpillars took to the walnut which I was expecting since that one of the host plants the guy I got them from said he used. Monarchs caterpillars are unique in their single species of host plant. Most have many different ones. The cecropia for example can be raised on lilac, willow, and many other plants. Same with the luna, but they all have their favorites. Once they start eating a host plant however they are reluctant to ever switch to a different host plant. Especially if its from a desirable host plant to a less desirable one, they would more likely die then switch.
 

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Well into the 4th instar for the cecropia caterpillars.




IDK what instar the luna cats are since they seem to eat their moltings, but they are growing fast. Not as cool as the cecropia, but they always look like they are plotting evil plans >.>

 

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Caterpillars are so cute!And yours are no different. <3

Last year I was at the currency exchange and their was a caterpillar on the floor. So I put it back up the tree. People were looking at me like I'm nuts, but I onlydid it to save the caterpillar. I felt like I was a true animal lover and I am. <3
 

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Just keep growing B)

The oldest cecropias started hitting the 5th instar this week. This is their last instar before cocooning, but they put on a lot of growth in the last instar. ATM they look kinda baggy and wrinkly till they grow more. They also trade the red for orange and black. If anyone's interested in knowing the blue circles that run in a line along the side of the caterpillar are called trachea and are basically entrances of air tubes for breathing.







Luna caterpillars are growing as well. When I checked on them this morning they had stripped all their branches are were starting to get frantic lol. Many of the larger caterpillars both luna and cecropia get to the point where they are too large and heavy for going out onto the leaves so they kinda wrestle and pull them to the branch.



 

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Wow! They really have grown! I really like the first ones, though i agree, the seconds do look like they are plotting! Gave me a good laugh!
 

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Well we had a stowaway on some leaves I got this morning. A tiger swallowtail caterpillar aka caterpie :p . This little guy pretends he is a snake and even has a fake tongue he can stick out if birds think otherwise.


This is how much the lunas eat in 21 hours. The good news is they gotta start cocooning soon lol.



A comparison between a luna caterpillar and a mature cecropia caterpillar thats filled out a 'little', possibly the same caterpillar from my last post lol. I said he was kinda baggy and wrinkly. Also some really short HD videos of cecropia and luna caterpillars.



 
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