Butterfly and Moth Raising and Releasing sticky thread

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

This thread is the sticky for information and a list of referencing links to share information on HOW TO RAISE AND RELEASE BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS!

Please do NOT post questions or comments here. You are invited to post on another thread or start a thread.

This thread is to educate anyone interested in collecting eggs, raising larva (caterpillars), what to do and what to expect with pupa (chrysalis and cocoon), and what to expect and how to release a newly eclosed (emerged) Butterfly.

Here is a list of some helpful terminology:

caterpillar - the larval stage of either a moth or a butterfly.

instar - a caterpillar in any one of its periods of growth between molts or shedding it's skin.

chrysalis - the pupa stage of a butterfly. The chrysalis is often mistakenly called a cocoon. The chrysalis forms when the butterfly caterpillar sheds its skin for the final time, and a hardened outer covering forms to cover the changing pupa inside.

cocoon - the pupa stage of a moth. The cocoon is a covering that protects the pupa inside as it changes into a moth. Cocoons are formed from silken threads spun by the last instar caterpillar. Some species of moths will also incorporate leaves into their cocoons. After the cocoon is formed, the caterpillar inside will shed its skin for the final time, and a pupa with a hardened outer coating will form.

host plant - the plant that adult butterflies and moths will use for egg laying. Many species of butterflies and moths will only lay their eggs on one or a few types of plants, while others are less selective. The eggs are only placed on plants that the emerging caterpillars will eat.

larva - the juvenile stage of many insects. For butterflies and moths, the larval stage is the caterpillar.

lepidoptera - the scientific classification of the order of butterflies and moths.

metamorphosis - the complete physical change which many species of insects undergo.

nectar plant - a plant whose blooms allow butterflies, some moths, and hummingbirds access to nectar.

puddling - drinking from a mineral-rich water source. The males of some species of butterflies will visit damp soil, mud, wet compost, etc. in large groups. This is referred to as puddling, and allows them to obtain minerals they need, but which are not found in the nectar flowers they visit.

pupa - the stage when the larva (caterpillar) is turning into an adult butterfly or moth.
(pl - pupae)

A DG link for "Photo" IDing Butterflies in their various stages of growth:


Here is a link to compare 2 butterflies side-by-side to see similarities and differences:

This message was edited Mar 22, 2008 8:43 AM

New Port Richey, FL(Zone 9b)

A link to a thread for homemade and purchased butterfly and cat cages.Very interesting and informative for anyone interested in rearing butterfly's and moths in your backyard. http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/643281/

Link- bugguide.net for identification of Butterflies,Moths,and insects http://bugguide.net/index.php?q=search&keys=zebra+longwings&search=Search

Link-Butterflies and Moths of North America great site to look-up what species are in your area http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/map?dc=1875&_dcc=1&si=10

Link- Monarch watch .org http://www.monarchwatch.org/index.html

Link- Host plants for butterflies species(Plants that butterflies will lay eggs on) http://www.dallasbutterflies.com/Butterfly%20Gardening/Host%20Plants%20by%20Butterfly%20Species.htm

This message was edited Jul 5, 2007 1:23 PM

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Link for IDing some of the more common caterpillars:

How to find caterpillars on plants:

Raising butterflies links:

Information about a sick caterpillar or butterfly: (Link is for informational purposes only!)

Link to another caterpillar predator:

A good Q & A link about butterflies:

Information about the Butterflies and their life cycle:
(Scroll down this page for information) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly

This message was edited Mar 22, 2008 8:44 AM

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

Here is a Host Plant list I researched and put together

Note some plants listed are invasive and I do not recommend them being plant but are listed only because they came up in my research and you may come across caterpillars on them in the wild when you are out searching. Always research your plants and grow natives local to your area when at all possible


Great link for Texas

This message was edited Jul 7, 2007 8:50 PM

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Many brush-foot butterflies enjoying feeding on home-made "Butterfly Brew". Here are 2 links on how to make this butterfly food:


Photo of stick with BB on it:

PLEASE NOTE: Be sure to VENT your brew regularly to prevent it from exploding!

This message was edited Apr 11, 2010 6:46 PM

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Go to this thread for a good list of nectar plants for all kinds of butterflies (and even hummingbirds):


How to collect Milkweed/Butterfly Weed seeds:


Database link on how to grow many plants from seeds:

This message was edited Mar 22, 2008 8:41 AM

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

This is a link for a thread for recommended books that you can get from the library, local bookstore, or Amazon.com:


This message was edited Jul 13, 2007 9:14 PM

Edinburg, TX

WOW!! Ya'll have just about covered everything I could think of :o) Ain't ya'll just soooooooo special!!! All the information linked should answer any questions newbies could ask. Now all us old fogies need to just sit back and enjoy the photos they post :o)

ps...remember to VENT the brew!!!! :o) Snicker, snicker :o) We really can't emphasize that enough.

pss...and for anyone who wants to ogle over the 300 or so species we get in the south tip of Texas can visit our local NABA website:


Lots of awesome photos, plant info and whatnot :o)

another excellent site for purchasing larval host plants (as well as eggs, cats, chrysalids etc). www.butterfliesetc.com

~ Cat

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 8b)

This link is about repairing a butterly wing:


Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes vent the brewww!! LOL!!

That's an amazing operation Roxanne!

Here is a thread just put together for Quick & Easy Cat Cages, I know it is probably already in here, but I am so thrilled to finally get over my most recent cat-astrophe that I had to give it a big shout out.


So relieved after the ginormous grief of losing almost a dozen BSTs.. Now I can sleep.


Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

If any of you see and/or raise butterflies or moth that is not listed for your county here is the hyperlink to submit to and the person to address> If you have seen butterflies and/or raised them, and then found out they weren't even on the map for your county. - OR -
If you have contacted them and not seen any change or response back the information is in the email below.

Hi Deb,
Thanks for contacting us and letting me know. Some of our state and regional coordinators are swamped during the summer months, so they may be a bit slow to respond, but July is long past.
The standard submission procedure is here: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/faq/report

Please have these individuals forward their sighting information to me, and I'll take care of it. We require a photograph, date, and specific location details (address, city, county, state or territory).
If you have any other questions, please contact me.


Again the criteria are: A photograph, date, and specific location details (address, city, county, state or territory).

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I scanned this thread to make sure this wasn't a duplicate site...


Go through this entire site! There are too many things in it to explain here. Lots of educational products. The castles are wonderful! The 12" x 12" ones are not $10.00 as it says on the order form. They are $8.00.


Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I made a new thread for this book to announce it, and I will put t here permanently.

"The Book of Field and Roadside" Open-Country Weeds, and Wildflowers of Eastern North America
Some of you might want to snag a copy of this one. It has drawings and information on common roadside weeds. As many of you know some of the most beautiful butterflies use field and roadside plants as larval hosts. John Eastman thoroughly covers many of these plants to recognize so that we can gather seeds from them when the seeds are ripe. Most weeds and wildflowers do not transplant very well and it isn't advisable to remove plants like these fro their natural places for other reasons anyway. John goes into great detail on all insects encountered with the plants as well, and Amelia Hansen is a pretty good little illustrator.

I bought it for 4.98, but the list price is 18.95.. I saw the book on ebay and amazon for as low as 1.99!!

Thumbnail by debnes_dfw_tx
(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Article about Global Warming and Butterflies: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/825221/

Edinburg, TX

Am adding Jan Dauphin's page of butterfly links. Jan is a local lepidopterist well known for her photographs, photodocs of life cycles, having the most butterfly sighting in her yard and lots more good stuff I can't remember :o)

Scroll down about half way on her page and you'll see the butterfly information for the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Scroll down further and you'll see links for Mexico and Neotropical Butterfly Information

Scroll a tad further down on her page and you'll see links for Texas Butterfly info.

Keep scrolling and you'll find even more links forother North American state butterflies and moths and even lower on the page are links for societies and organizations.

~ Cat


(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Sometimes we will have a thread moved to another forum.

Here is a thread that will list any moved threads from the Hummingbird and Butterfly Forum so that it can easily be located again!


Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Another Host Plant site

Illinois butterflies

Here's a link to the table in my butterfly populations article.

Cool Site about "Silkworms, Silkmoths and Silk"

This message was edited Sep 3, 2008 9:22 AM

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

This site has a great list of nectar and HOST PLANTS by plant names (commom & botanical), and by butterflies in N. Central TX. Many are found in other states also.

You need to click the link that says 'butterfly gardening'.

Edinburg, TX

Plants useful as food for butterfly larvae in Central Texas

Found this list has many plants found in south Texas too.

~ Cat


Edinburg, TX

Top Ten Butterfly Centers and other info


Links for the centers can be found on above hyperlink.

Top Ten Butterfly Centers

Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, Pine Mountain, GA. Located in Callaway Gardens where 1,000 tropical butterflies, representing more than 50 different species, flutter freely through the air. Tropical plants and birds, reside peacefully with the colorful winged jewels in North America's largest, glass-enclosed tropical conservatory. The award-winning film, On Wings of Wonder, plays continuously on two wide-screen monitors in the center's multi-purpose room , explaining the life cycle of butterflies.

Cockrell Butterfly Center, Houston, TX. Houston Center of Natural Science. The Cockrell Butterfly Center is a stunning, living exhibit that showcases hundreds of live butterflies in a naturalistic rainforest setting. The central conservatory is a dramatic three-story glass cone filled with tropical plants and exotic butterflies. During a typical visit, one can expect to see 50 to 60 different species of the world’s largest and most colorful butterfly species, flying through the balmy air, hovering over flowers or sipping fruit juice.

Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory consist of a large, glass atrium has been filled with lush tropical vegetation, colorful and exotic butterflies, and tropical birds. Flowering plants line the winding pathways as some 50 different types of butterflies enjoy the habitat.

Butterfly World, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Worlds largest live butterfly theme park. Waterfalls, bridges, 5000 live butterflies, hummingbirds, botanical gardens, museum, cafe gift shop, suspension bridge, plant shop, classical music. Absolute heaven in South Florida.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens - Boston, MA. Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens, opened in October of 2000, consists of an 18,400-square foot facility that includes a 8,000-sq. ft. glass conservatory filled with butterflies, moths and tropical vegetation.

The Butterfly Pavilion, 6252 W. 104th Ave. Westminster, CO. The Butterfly Pavilion is home to thousands of butterflies from all parts of the globe. From finger-length zebra longwings to hand-sized paper kites, we have more than 50 different species at any given time.

Mackinac Island Butterfly House, Mackinac Island, MI. Visitors walk through a greenhouse with more than 500 butterflies from all over the world in flight and over 1,000 flowers. This is one of the few nationwide educational displays that shows the life cycle of the butterflies and their role in our environment. Guest can watch an adult butterfly emerge from a pupa.

The Butterfly House - 15193 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield, MO. The Butterfly House is a not-for-profit organization which was established in 1995 to foster a better understanding of butterflies and increase awareness of the natural habitat in which butterflies thrive.

Allyn Museum of Entomology - 3621 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, FL. The Butterfly Rainforest is a living exhibit that supports hundreds of butterflies from around the world to experience first-hand. This screened enclosure is planted in subtropical and tropical trees with waterfalls and a walking path. Inside the Rainforest, exhibit stations help visitors understand various butterfly behaviors they will witness during their visit.

Butterfly People Cafe, Puerto Rico. Butterfly People is a gallery and cafe in a handsomely restored building in Old San Juan. Butterflies, sold here in artfully arranged boxes, range from $20 for a single mounting to thousands of dollars for whole-wall murals. The butterflies are preserved and will last forever.

Edinburg, TX

This is a handy link for all states and by the looks of it - it is currently updated.


~ Cat

Edinburg, TX

Link to photos of butterflies puddling or on scat and brew


~ Cat

NE Medina Co., TX(Zone 8a)

Info on OE (disease of Monarchs and Queens):

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Really great site with good pictures and info of Wisconsin Butterflies.

Bureau County, IL(Zone 5a)

I found this site on just about everything butterflies. It not only helps you ID butterflies, but caterpillars too. It also tells you how to attract, a section on gardening, etc.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Great site terry, thanks!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

One of the best websites addressing the parasite of butterfly larva I have seen. Great ..really graphic pictures that tell the ugly truth. http://www.butterflyfunfacts.com/chalcid-wasp-chalcidoidea.php

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

More Links from Shelia and Marna:

Arrticle that Marna compiled for DG…. http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2358/

Great link on raising butterflies… http://www.raisingbutterflies.org/

Nicely done multiple butterfly site…. http://butterflies.heuristron.net/index.php

Monarch Watch website / raising …. http://www.monarchwatch.org/rear/index.htm

Someone’s compact personal website…… http://melanys.tripod.com/butterfly.htm

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Great source for milkweed seeds recommended by a DG member.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Not sure if these website pages have been listed before. Information about OE:


Other butterfly diseases and parasites:


This message was edited Jun 15, 2012 11:46 PM

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