Hand Pairing

Chris Conlan conlan at adnc.com
Wed Jul 7 00:52:24 EDT 1999

The best website in the world can't prepare you to be an expert on hand
pairing.  This is really an art and is best learned by practice or (even
better) in person with somebody who is good at it.  The best learning tool
out there is the swallowtail butterflies.  These are easy compared to many
of the other species.  A few of the Saturniids are easy (especially the
diurnal species) as well but most will test your patience.  Practice on the
Papilios and then try some of the easier Saturniids.  After that you are
pretty much on your own.  The one piece of advice I can give you for the
Saturniids is to make sure you attempt the breeding at the normal time it
would occur if it was going to happen.  It's usually best to let the female
start calling and see the male get active in response to this.  Then give it
a shot (even if it is 3:00am!).  For the swallowtails just remember that not
all species are ready to go fresh out of the pupa.  You may have to wait a
few days.  Just try for a few minutes and if the male is not interested than
get an older male or wait another day.  It's also best not to feed them
right before you try a pairing or the darn things defecate all over the
place.  Best of luck!

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