Hello, Last fall I gave rearing lunas a try. I’ve reared many Asian moths and butterflies with success. Unfortunately the lunas not so much. Could any experienced rearers advise me on what was wrong? I assume it would be disease...potentially due to humidity. Or possibly wrong host plant? Thank you in advance!
Non-gregarious Saturniid larvae need to be separated if they are reared in boxes, one larva per box from the third instar or preferably earlier. The stress of being in close confines with other larvae lowers their resistance to infections, and once one takes hold it spreads really quickly and all the larvae will die.
Keeping them separate also prevents contamination, as Claude said but it is important to maintain cleanliness when handling each box, otherwise you can easily transfer pathogens from one box to the next.