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Introduction

To support our sale of tropical butterfly pupae we have put together this short information page. If you need to know more detail than we can provide then please contact a specialist in the subject. We offer the pupae of these exotic insects simply as a novelty to brighten up your tropical greenhouse or conservatory. You will need to understand how to hatch them out, how to feed them during their short life time that may be only a few days or weeks and what sort of plants provide a natural environment for them. For ordering please follow this link:

Pupae Ordering

Pupae Emergence Procedure -

An emerging box is normally used for any butterfly greenhouse. It need not be large and a 12" cube would be sufficient. The box should be constructed with some fine netting and some supporting sticks placed inside the box to attach the pupae to. If you do not have a box a sheltered area away from predators in your greenhouse will probably do.

The pupae must be attached to the supporting sticks using a tiny amount of non-toxic glue to the abdomen and the sticks elevated to leave at least twice the expected wing width, leaving room for the emerging butterfly to stretch its wings. In summary to help the butterfly to emerge you will need to provide the following conditions:-

  • Warm conditions between 25C and 30C
  • Keep out of direct sunlight
  • Maintain a high humidity and spray water with a fine mist around the pupae if necessary but not directly onto the pupae.
  • Inspect the pupae daily as in some cases butterfly enthusiasts help a butterfly with emerging problems by removing parts of the pupae with tweezers but this is only as a last resort!
  • Please leave the butterfly alone after emerging to allow its wings to harden and if you are using an emerging box please allow it to be free to fly out of the box when it is ready.

Butterfly Food Requirements (Nectar or Sugar) -

Butterflies need a regular supply of nectar or sugar and nutrients, in the wild this comes from flowers, ripe fruit etc. It is unlikely that you will have the right flowers for the butterflies to provide a consistent supply of nectar and therefore a sugar water solution will supplement their needs. Breeders of tropical butterflies normally provide a shallow tray containing a plastic pot scourer or sponge with a solution of 10% to 20% weight of fructose sugar or honey to volume of water. The butterflies can stand on the scourer sucking up the juices. In addition some squeezed out orange halves can be placed on a container or other sweet fruit. Red and blue pads seem to attract the butterflies better. The fruit and sugar water will need to be changed regularly and placed away from areas that ants for example can infest. Water is also essential but if you water your plants regularly with sprayed water they will suck up water from the leaves absorbing some essential nutrients at the same time.

Plants for Tropical Butterflies - a few ideas

Plants for Nectar

  • Tweedia caerulea

  • Ageratum

  • Musa velutina

  • Leptospermum rich in nectar

  • Pentas an essential plant

  • Coleus

  • Hibiscus sinensis

  • Abelmoschus

  • Lantana also an essential plant

  • Asclepias curassavica

  • Impatiens

  • Clerodendrum

  • Cestrum

Plants for Caterpillars
  • Tweedia caerulea
  • Nerium Oleander - danaids
  • Aristolochia - Papilionids
  • Canna indica - Caligos
  • Cleome Spinosa - Pierids
  • Coleus - African Precis
  • Musa velutina
  • Passiflora - Heliconiads
  • Citrus - Swallowtails
  • Cestrum - Greta