Back in 1995 I wrote this article and l thought l would share it with fellow members of the ELG.

I have enjoyed rearing this family of silkmoths ever since seeing photos of them back in the late 70s when l first started rearing, l always wanted to have a go as privet is common place and so easy to provide foodplants for larvae.

I received 12 cocoons of this species back in Nov 95, l thought they would be overwintering but as one male had emerged in transit…l thought it would be easier to let them hatch normally.

As l check my cocoons to see if any are ready to emerge, it was a pleasant surprise to see my remaining cocoons were ready to hatch, so l put them immediately in the front room at 70c in my 3ft square cage..

The reason l opened the cocoons was that one was rustling when it arrived and when cut open it contained a deformed male which had become to dry to force its way out properly.

On the 23rd Nov l went into my front room to discover a newly hatched and perfect female hanging at the top of the rearing cage. My heart missed a beat as l knew a sex stared male was nearing emergence, and five hrs later l was rewarded with a perfect male hopefully with sex in mind…

That night l put them in a 2ft hanging cage into the corner of my front room, and at 70c l was hopeful of a successful pairing…l woke the next morning at 7.30am to find the male chasing the female around the cage, and at 7.45am they mated successfully.That put me in a great mood for the days work ahead, sometime during the night of 25th Nov they parted, and the female laid approx 40 ova on the sides of the cage, they paired for around 16hrs.

So between the 25th and 29th Nov she laid a total of 150 ova, l split the ova between myself and my good friends Mark Pickup in Derby, Dave Lacey in Durham and Brian Camplin in Grimsby, so between us we would have a good chance to rear some through to cocoons..

But as it nearly always happens with adults from the same batch of ova, yes you guessed it…all but 21 ova failed to hatch which is totally annoying, but we all know the reasons behind this now..

Just read my article on inbreeding !!! When the larvae started to hatch we had another problem…a lack of fresh privet due to heavy snow and hard frosts that year..

My batch died in the second instar just before xmas, and my remaining cocoons hatched at various times until 20th April 96 so l did not have a chance to rear these beautiful moths again….

I will remember rearing this wonderful moth with some satisfaction, at least l saw what wonderful creatures these are to see as adults, l just wished they had hatched earlier in the season, so l could rear the larvae.

Lastly may l wish all silkmoth rearers worldwide much success in rearing season 2001……

If you would like to contact me its



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