Moth Mating

Chris Conlan conlan at
Thu May 29 23:30:38 EDT 1997

As mentioned already, for some species siblings are very difficult to mate.
Polyphemus is one of these species as are many of the Antheraea.  Best bet
is to try an unrelated mate or tie the female out.  Hand pairing Saturniids
is difficult but it can be done.  You need to wait until the time of night
when the female would naturally be calling.  Preferably, the male will have
picked up her scent and already be active.  Then go ahead and attempt the
hand pairing as you would for Papilios.  You need to be much more patient
though as it can take several minutes.  If the male does grab tightly to
the female, wait another minute or two (holding them still) and carefully
transfer them to a cage or something to sit on.  If they break up, try
again.  If you are not having any luck after 20 minutes or so it probably
isn't going to happen.  As a general rule, the bigger the claspers on the
male of the species, the easier that species will be to pair by hand.
Species like E. calleta, C. promethea, C. regalis etc. (all with big
claspers) are generally not too difficult to do by hand.  Good luck!

conlan at

>Hi folks:
>Is there any one good way to get the large saturnids to mate? I have two
>males and one female polyphemus that have emerged, I picked them up and
>attempted to hand pair them as I would with Papilio but this was not going
>to work. I sort of felt like I was mating two cotton balls! Is it the
>dark? Space? What? please help, as I am sure that these poor moths don't
>have a lot of time left in this world.
>Sincerely scaled

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