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Old 10-18-2012, 09:04 PM  
Viceroy
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Kissimmee Florida
Default Raising caterpillars

I say raising caterpillars because that is what we do, we do not raise butterflies, it is not that easy. There are many different ideas and methods when it comes to raising caterpillars. I will explain what has worked for me. I begin by collecting at the egg phase, I do this to assure myself I am...
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By KC Clark on 02-28-2013, 03:41 AM
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I begin by collecting at the egg phase, I do this to assure myself I am saving the maximum amount of any given species, eggs are extremely vulnerable to ants, and I have lost dozens just waiting from one day to the next, this also ensures that there will be no chance of a parasitized caterpillar.
Grabbing eggs is good but it does not equate to "no chance" of problems. There are parasitoids that go after eggs. Some have ovipositors that go through the shell of the butterfly/moth egg and lay an egg on the developing caterpillar. Here is a video (not mine) of what I'm talking about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc3P6j1ORPg


The sneakier ones lay their egg on the shell of the butterfly/moth egg. The caterpillar ingests the parasitoid's egg when the caterpillar eats its egg shell (many species of caterpillars use their egg shell as their first meal).

So, if the parasitoid beats you to the egg, you're still going to have problems. This is when it is handy to see the butterfly/moth laying the eggs so you can be pretty sure of getting there first.

Red admiral butterflies are the ones I raise that tend to have egg problems. The caterpillar dies during its 2nd instar (still a very small caterpillar). I find a tiny white wasp cocoon sitting next to the dead caterpillar.

I got a big surprise once when I blew up pictures I took of question mark butterfly eggs. There was a fly that was a fraction of the size of the egg. The fly was very fuzzy in the picture so I could not identify it, hence no proof it was meaning to harm the egg but I figure it was not sightseeing.
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butterflies, butterfly, caterpillar, caterpillars, cats, chrysalis, collect, collecting, eggs, raise, raising, raising caterpillars

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