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Discussion in 'Wildlife Chat' started by Loverofpets10, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. Loverofpets10

    Loverofpets10 PetForums Newbie

    Sep 8, 2013
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    Hello. I hatch caterpillars, butterflies or moths, and I was just wondering if anyone knew a good web sight where you can buy live caterpillars. Don't worry it is not cruel. I am currently working on an eyed hawk moth caterpillar who has just recently turned into a cocoon and I can assure that once it has hatched it will be released.

    Thank you!
  2. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

    Feb 18, 2009
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    It's really not a great idea. You could be importing diseases or parasites into your area that could infect the resident population, as well as lining the pockets of companies that frequently take from the wild which of course depletes the natural colonies.

    Instead, why not search nettle patches in spring for groups of peacock and small tortoiseshell larvae, and rear those on at home (on cut nettle or potted, not stems in water which can cause dysentry). Moth caterpillars are also quite easy to find, mainly at dusk or at night. If you've got primulas, I've got some you can have, they're making a right mess of my candelabra primulas at the moment, and I also found brown-line bright-eye moth larvae are responsible for the damage to my tomatoes.

    Also, look out for the orange eggs of orange tip butterflies in May/June, they're really easy to find, and rear them on ladies smock or jack-by-the-hedge.

    This way, you're making a contribution to the survival of your local species without risking damge to your area or other sites.
  3. Phoenix24

    Phoenix24 PetForums Senior

    Apr 6, 2013
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    I agree. You shouldn't ever really release commercially bred/reared/developed insects (or any creatures) or any kind. Aside from disease captive bred populations may have developed (or may be carrying but immune to themselves), their genetic makeup may also be 'altered' in the sense that captive populations tend to be either inbred or have not been subjected to natural selection, therefore are not as 'strong' as wild populations are (in other words, in wild populations the weak ones die leaving only the fittest individuals surviving to reproduce, in captive populations those kind of selection pressures are absent meaning even 'weak' individuals reproduce). From a population-genetics point of view, you are also seriously screwing around with the gene pool of your local population if you release adults that are not 'born and bred' in that area.

    If you want a slightly quicker way of getting your hands on wild stock to rear, you can use a light trap to either collect a couple of gravid females, which you can encourage to lay their eggs on an appropriate food plant, or you might catch a virgin female you might be able to use to lure males, and allow them to mate to collect their eggs.

    I know its a fascinating and fun thing to rear caterpillars, but don't be tempted to take rarer species, and for others (only take the common ones please) only keep a few eggs for yourself and let the females go and lay the rest of their clutch naturally.
    #3 Phoenix24, Sep 11, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
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