Lepidoptera Facts Collecting Butterfly And Moth Ova, LarvA, And PupA

We have already observed that insects should, as a rule, be set as soon as possible after their capture; and it would therefore seem that this is the proper place for instructions in this part of the work. But it so happens that butterflies and moths are to be obtained by means other than those already described, and we shall therefore consider these previous to the study of the various processes connected with the setting and preserving of our specimens.

Were we to confine our attention to the capture of the perfect forms only, our knowledge of the Lepidoptera would be scanty indeed, for we should then be ignorant of the earlier stages of the creatures’ lives, and have no opportunity of witnessing the wonderful transformations through which they have to pass.

Such an imperfect acquaintance with butterflies and moths will, I hope, not satisfy the readers of these pages; so it is intended, in the next two chapters, to give a little assistance to those who would like to know how to set to work at the collection of their eggs and larva, how to search for the pupa, and how to rear the insects from the stage at which they are acquired till they finally emerge in the perfect form.

These portions of an entomologist’s work certainly take up a great deal of his time, and also require much patience and perseverance; but the advantages derived cannot be over-estimated, for in addition to the knowledge gained of the early stages of insect life, this kind of work will enable him to place in his cabinet a number of gems he would otherwise have not and probably know not. Occasionally a prize may be obtained in the form of a cluster of eggs (ova) of a rare species, in many instances the larva are to be obtained with comparative ease, while the perfect insects of the same species are not often seen or not easily captured, and many a rare pupa has been dug out of its hiding place during a season when the entomologist had but little other work to occupy his time.

These and other similar subjects we shall now consider in turn.