buckeye quandries

Laurel Godley godley at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 24 13:13:27 EDT 1998

SW & others,

I've been having a few troubles with the buckeye's I'm trying to rear.  
In short, MANY have been inexplicably dieing.  I don't know if this is a 
bacterial or other problem.  The somewhat odd thing, is they seem to get 
unusually large before this happens.  By which I mean, they are about 
1/4-1/2 larger in size than the ones that I successfully raised 6 weeks 
ago.  I am wondering if there is any afflication that would suppress 
pupation and essentially cause them to keep eating until they 

It was suggested to me by Pierre P. that there is some trouble raising 
them solely on plantain.  Has anybody else had similar experience?  I'm 
wondering if perhaps there isn't some essential chemical missing in 
plantain that is needed to simulate pupation.  The successful batch was 
reared on a combo of plantain, snapdragon and an un-id. garden weed.  
Since this was mostly striped, I have taken the new caterpillars indoors 
and supplemanted their feeding with plantain from the local school-yard 
play-field.  I 've even transplanted some into my garden plot to the 
horror & amusement of my co-gardeners.  Unfortunately, I can't keep 
buying flats of snapdragon (as I did earlier this summer) because it's 
getting too expensive.  But alas I didn't want all these funny lil guys 
to crawl away & die.

Anyway, I don't think the problem is pesticides, because I accidentally 
feed some once with snapdragon that had been sprayed.  Unfortunately, 
they twitched a great deal, curled up & made me well aware of my 
mistake.  Now they just, grow & grow, look fine, until one day they are 
at the bottom all stretched out.

Suggestions or help gratefully welcomed...  Laurel
Our lab currently focuses on experiments with Buckeye (Precis coenia), 
and has had a successful colony for several years.  

>scabrous at fcmail.com

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