Breeding admirals for release

This topic contains 14 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Pepetuna 6 years, 10 months ago.

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    Topic
  • #15410

    Earthlore
    Participant

    Hi All

    We are in our first season of breeding red admirals for release in The Catlins and are learning as we go. We have converted a small glasshouse with most of the panes missing into a breeding space by covering with shade-cloth and planting with tree nettle. Just wondering if anyone has any hints or tips for success. Things are going quite well at the moment, half a dozen butterflies have hatched out so far this spring. We are providing honey water on sponges and placing a variety of flowers in a jar of water. These get changed regularly. We are wanting the butterflies to lay eggs before we release them. What is the life expectancy for the adult butterfly in spring/summer?

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #31023

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Excellent Joanna. Old saleyards, cattle yards or sheep yards and showgrounds are always worth a look for nettles. I haven’t had any parasatoids (?) yet in either Red or Yellow Admirals, but did get wilt or NPV in both kinds of larvae. I’m not sure whether I brought this in with wild-collected larvae, or whether it was still on my plants from last year. Either way, it must have been bad husbandry on my part. 🙁

    #31022

    joanna
    Participant

    Yes, thanks for the reminder! I have done so for other sightings – but not for that group yet…. info still in my diary! I will record the sightings tomorrow night.
    I collected a few larvae and pupae today to continue raising in my caterpillar castle. I’m interested to see if I get the same high % of ichneumon wasps from the pupae as I did last autumn. Shocking! No wonder the admirals are so few and far between!
    Also have some yellow admirals on the go…. found a good crop of european nettle down at the A&P showgrounds which have small larvae on them…so looking forward to seeing how successful I am with those.

    #31020

    Pepetuna
    Participant

    Joanna can you report your sighting on the website? Helps us know where they are still found and hopefully we will be able to see whether they are in decline or not. You can go through the menus Projects then Report butterfly sighting or you can just click on the link https://www.monarch.org.nz/projects/report-a-sighting/

    #30947

    joanna
    Participant

    Anna – yet it was great! I live in Masterton but that sighting was in the bush behind Wainuiomata (near Hutt Valley). It’s the water catchment area and the bush is fantastic there. Large numbers of RA have been seen nectaring on white rata flowers there.

    Jacqui-I love the caterpillar castle!Released the last of my little batch of RA from it the other day and look forward to raising more soon, when I can find some caterpillars..

    #30916

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Joanna – what do you think of your caterpillar castle? I wouldn’t be without mine.

    #30914

    Anna
    Participant

    Joanna…15 Red Admirals! Thats great.
    What part of the country are you in?

    #30895

    joanna
    Participant

    Yes I do have a castle ordered. The failures I had last summer were from the chrysalis (plural) I took from the wild – just as an experiment to see what emerged. The ones I am raising now are indoors but a castle would help in many ways, including keeping the cats away from them!
    I think 2 of the chrysalis I took from the wild this year were already parasitised as they are very dark with a coppery patch which Norm alerted me to.I’m tempted to snip one open to see…..
    Questions: I have been misting the chysalis – should I do this daily? Should a castle be kept in a cool or warm part of the house?
    Saw 15 red admirals today!! That was exciting!

    #30893

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    These are highly recommended – designed for the purpose!

    Caterpillar Castles

    Jacqui

    #30891

    Anna
    Participant

    Earthlore…it can get really frustrating can’t it?!
    I find that many spiders come out at night, so I get as many as I can in the butterfly house using a torch.

    Joanna…I have found by keeping any pupae indoors, in a butterfly tent that I bought, or a container covered with muslin seems to keep them protected…till they emerge.

    #30890

    Earthlore
    Participant

    Ok, we thought we’d made a predator proof butterfly house for red admirals, but though we are keeping out the wasps, can anyone tell us how to keep the spiders out? We do a sweep for webs every few days, but looks like we need to do it every day. We are trying to provide a safe haven for butterflies but are instead providing a free lunch for spiders! Very frustrating. Any ideas?

    #30793

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Joanna

    The feedback is in many places – comments in different Facebook groups that I belong to, to do with butterflies, and the WWBBF and AUSNZ email lists mainly. Worldwide Butterfly Breeding Forum (I think) and Australia and NZ Lepidoptera email lists.

    You can join the two email lists here if you want:

    http://groups.google.com/group/wwbbf?hl=en-GB?hl=en

    http://groups.google.com/group/ausnzleps?hl=en-GB.

    And if you’re on FB, then “friend” me and then review the groups and oontacts that I follow.

    #30792

    joanna
    Participant

    Earthlore – I was interested to read your post and look forward to visiting Owaka again and meeting you. Last summer I had a small attempt at “creching” (away from wasp predation) some red admiral caterpillars and chrysalis I took from the wild. No success I’m afraid – all I got was a good crop of large ichneumon wasps! Can someone clarify for me whether all stages (ova,larvae, pupa) can be parasitised by ichneumon or is it just the soft early pupa stage?
    I’m having another go now with 3 caterpillars which I’m raising on urtica urens. One died, one pupated ok and the last one is just pupating now. My plan is to release the butterflies if that’s successful as I do see the odd RA flying around our place each summer.
    Jacquie – I’ve been looking for the feedback you mentioned re earthlore’s feed station – can you point me in the right direction? Cheers

    #30790

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Your “Feeding station” is getting lots of favourable feedback in various forums and discussion groups. A brilliant idea!

    #30788

    Earthlore
    Participant

    Feeling a bit embarassed as I’ve now found the excellent tips on breeding for release in other areas of the forum. Lots of helpful info there already, thank you.

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