Attacus atlas are hatching

karyn1(7a)September 17, 2010

I had wanted to try Luna eggs but ended up with Atlas. They began hatching yesterday morning with a few stragglers in the evening and are starting up again this morning. I was concerned because they seemed to prefer wandering around the enclosures to eating but I'm seeing frass today so it appears that they got hungry. I've given them a choice of lilac, peach and citrus branches. It looks like they prefer the peach and lilac. This is the first time I've tried raising giant silk moths. I've raised plenty of butterflies and sphinx moths. I hope these do well. I was also sent some Samia ricini cocoons.

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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Unless you are running an inspected facility with a USDA permit, I would not be advertising the fact that you have those moths.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 10:01AM
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Its unfortunate that the people of this country (and most other so called civilized regions of the world) have become so irresponsible that it's forced Big Brother(s) to try to regulate everything to the hilt. And with regs that are only for the law abiding folks. Illegal foreign species enter this country daily by the truck loads. The hoax is on Big Brother (and us) in that even under a preapproved permit irresponsible people commonly let livestock escape (or intentionally release them) and chance an introduced invasive species.

Way back when I reared Attacus an import permit was all that was needed for them to be legally brought into this country. Kind of a joke though as few in USFWLE or US Customs had the slightest clue at all about Lepidoptera and readily passed any shipment that had a preapproved import or export permit in with them. Best they could do was look over the listed inventory of the species contained in the shipment on the permit, and if none of them was a regulated species let the package go through. It mattered not if they were dead adult specimens or livestock as long as they were not a regulated species. So it was about protecting the regulated species of the world rather than about preventing introduced species. USDA's APHIS is a good thing in that regard, although only a very small percentage of people would apply for a preapproved permit. I know that back when I did foreign species I was one of the very few of all the amateur Lepidopterists I knew that got preapproved import/export permits for every shipment in or out and a preapproved permit every time to do field work in a regulated area.

Sorry I got long winded over this, but it's a thorn in my side that the responsible folks on this forum are missing the majority of what the field of Lepidoptera has to offer them because of a bureaucracy that has little or no chance of stopping the inevitable.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 4:49PM
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Well, I waited until others had responded about the legal issues involved in raising Attacus atlas in the US. I had read it was not legal to do so unless one has a USDA permit. These are huge moths, reaching a foot in wingspread. You won't find anything like it here, or probably even close to that size. They are tropical in nature and won't survive the cold here. I believe they are native to Asia.

Just be careful, Karyn.

I, for one, only want to raise those moths and butterflies that can be found in my location. I know they don't eat as adults, but I wonder about whether or not they are bringing some kind of disease along with them in their travels. I blame the folks who are selling these eggs and cocoons to unsuspecting folks in the USA. If you're in the business, you should know the laws.

Importation of anything exotic in the form of mammals or insects, is risky at best. We read about it daily, the pythons that have either escaped captivity or been released by irresponsible owners. The Gypsy Moth goes without saying. The illegal capture and exportation of birds. Not to say what these exporters are doing to their own populations of these moths where they are native. It fast becomes out of control to the detriment of the moth and its native home.

You're right, Larry, that the "bureaucracy has little chance of stopping the inevitable", but in my own little space I can take personal responsibility. What a concept! Can you imagine what would happen if every individual simply assumed responsibility for doing the right thing? Not gonna happen, but one can dream.....about a perfect world.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 5:07PM
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I know that they are native to Asia. Honestly I hadn't even thought about a USDA/APHIS permit at the time. Providing that I successfully raise the cats and they pupate they will never be released outside. I have greenhouses that they'll eclose in. None of their host plants are in the greenhouses and outside temps will be quite chilly by then, too cold for them to survive. BTW these were given to me.

I will agree with Larry about the numbers of species that enter the country on a daily basis. Customs is a joke. I can't count the number of amphibians and reptiles that enter the country from tropical areas in boxes of flowers. The majority are dead due to refrigeration but there's a number of live animals. I have several frogs and lizards that had stowed away in flower shipments, though I haven't found any live insects. I assume that's because of the pesticides that the flowers are treated with. My DH is in the wholesale floral business. When they come across live animals I take them home or give them to friends that are knowledgeable about their requirements. You can't release them because they aren't a native species and being tropical probably wouldn't live very long here anyway. I'm sorry but I'm not going to kill them just because a customs inspector wasn't doing his or her job. With global trade I don't think it's possible to keep non native pests from entering the country. Now we're dealing with the Brown Marmorated stink bug that probably entered PA ports from Asia in the 90's. They are perfectly cold hardy and have become a problem in the Mid Atlantic region over the past few years.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 11:58AM
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"They are tropical in nature and won't survive the cold here. "

Actually, Attacus atlas is widespead in Asia up to and including Japan, North and South Korea, Northern China, etc, places that get every bit as cold as it does here in NA. They could easily survive here in many places where their long list of larval food plants grow.


I've said how I feel about the buracracy, but it is the law of the land and the responsible thing to do is follow the law. So, "I'm sorry but I'm not going to kill them just because a customs inspector wasn't doing his or her job." is a very irresponsible comment to make IMO. So is giving them to other irresponsible folks (also illegal). It matters not that Custom sent the package through, they were not listed on the import permit so they entered the county illegally and they are illegal species in this country without a preapproved permit. The responsible thing to do is report them to your local AG office to be surrendered to them for proper disposal. You are either part of the solution, or you are part of the problem.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 10:06PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

A confused person sent me some moth eggs which were US natives but did not belong anywhere near my home. I ended up raising them and the experience taught me that I don't ever want to do it again. The worst part was having a bunch of moths beating themselves up in cages because I could not let them go. I ended up freezing the ones that would not calm down.

To be safe, I posted signs that said if I die or am incapacitated, those cats/pupa/moths must be killed. I did not want my wife or mother-in-law throwing them outside (which is what I'm sure would have happened if I did not post my signs). I do not want to become the next Leopold Trouvelot.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 12:19PM
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