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Robin Moth Hyalophora cecropia - North America

I first reared these beautiful moths when I was a young boy and always wanted to buy some more for my photography, so I bought 15 eggs from Worldwide Butterflies near Sherborne. Robin moths are very easy to keep but clean hygiene is essential when rearing the caterpillars I always separate mine into as many groups as possible because if one gets ill it spreads very quickly. I have been so successful in rearing that I had to sell many on the web, and had no trouble in selling them. The caterpillars are growing but do grow into a huge size and are very gregarious. My caterpillars are feeding in black netted sleeves that I made myself, feeding on large apple trees in pots.  Which is better than cut food, as well as apple the attractive caterpillars feed on Cherry, Hawthorn, Willow, Plum, and other trees.

These moths can be kept outside in the UK, but for breading and egg laying I bring them indoors and place them in netted cages, except when I went on holiday I had to leave two fertile females in a large sleeve. They laid their eggs on the leaves, normally the Robin moths which do not feed would only live a week or two but because they were outside in May and June and not flying much they lived for two months. The eggs were left to hatch naturally.

I have kept silk moths in the bottom of the fridge in the past, waiting for the opposite sex. A moth will live for many months instead of a few days this way. Although I do not do this anymore. The adult Robin moth is very beautiful coloured with scarlet and charcoal, known for sitting on a finger and fanning its wings. It rests like a butterfly with its wings always closed, what surprised me is how aware they are of their surroundings.  You only have to walk into a room or shed where the cages were resting and they immediately start fanning their pretty wings, showing their bright colours as a warning to predators. I have tried to show this behaviour by creating an animation in Photoshop from only two pictures one for wings and the other the background. 19/06/11.