Welcome to my website! Allow me to introduce myself – lately I’ve been recieving a lot of questions, which is why I decided to add some information about myself on this website aswell.
1. Where do you get your livestock?
On the internet multiple communities and distributors can be found. One particulary useful website is http://www.actias.de which has an international marketplace on which multiple species are offered per day. Other than that commercial webstores can be found online, like http://www.wwb.co.uk/ (world wide butterflies). Making friends with hobbyists is also an important point – for they may have eggs for sale! Other than this I have many more private sources. Wild collectors, butterfly farms.. you name it! In some cases I have even obtained permits to import wildlife for my research.
2. What do you do with dead specimens?
Since there is demand for my dead lepidopterans, I usually sell or trade them to collectors. Since I prefer to breed live insects I don’t have need for the dead ones – however one downside of breeding is that you will need to keep them alive, and as butterflies and moths age their wings will tear. So I rarely have good quality specimens since most of them die of old age. I’m afraid that I am also not much of a commercially minded person, and it is generally rare for me to sell and ship a lot of material.
3. Is it an expensive hobby?
It is as expensive as you allow it to be. Some very commonly bred species are very easy and cheap. Like the Samia ricini (eri silkmoth) or Arctia caja (garden tiger moth) and many of the common native cabbage whites (Pieris sp.) are commonly offered at low prices and very easy to breed and don’t need a lot of equipment. Sometimes these species are even offered for free! And they can be easily reared and bred in plastic containers or net cages.
The price range will exponentially increase with the rarity and difficulty of the species you aim to rear. For example the Graellsia isabellae (Stained glass moth) or Argema mittrei (Comet moth) are examples of species that are a bit more on the expensive side. The most expensive are species that are rare to obtain, endemics or protected by CITES, for which prices may range to over 20 euro per pupa! Such extremes are rare and may include species as Actias chapae, Ornithoptera sp., Coscinocera hercules and more. However for a beginner this will be a cheap hobby.
4. Do you release captive insects?
No. I keep non-native (exotic) species, releasing them would be highly irresponsible. Even if I breed native species, releasing them could still have a negative impact on the wild population for captive insects may carry negative/unfavorable traits that would have been removed due to natural selection in the wild. I’ve been asked this question more times than I’m comfortable with: despite their pretty colours, exotic species are not welcome in our ecosystem. They can do serious damage to native wildlife. If you want to help sustain the populations of butterflies and moths in the wild, the best course of action would be to help spread their host plants! Plant host and nectar plants in your garden. They are beneficial to the species, whereas releasing captive insects could have a negative impact.
5. Do you sell livestock?
I don’t like selling because I have too many followers on social media (because of my Youtube, my website, Facebook and people I know from Actias.de) that often ask me for eggs. And sometimes when I have a rare species, I get so many messages asking for eggs that is giving me a lot of stress, especially when I fail to breed them and have to dissapoint people. This ruins the fun of my hobby for me. Even when I have eggs it is often impossible to help everybody since there are not enough, and then I have dissapoint some of my friends. But I do trade species, behind the scenes – I often trade eggs or cocoons for other species that are interesting.
Sometimes I do sell – but when I do, I usually place offers on the marketplace on the forum of http://www.actias.de ! So I recommend taking a look there. I prefer to trade behind the scenes against other species. Please know that I am not much of a commercial breeder, and that there is always a very high demand for my eggs, since I have a very large following on social media due to my website, my YouTube channel, my research and various social media. Please do not rely on me to sell you eggs of a certain species if you need them. If you are truly interested, I made a video explaining where I buy all my insects (click here).
My name is Bart Coppens, 24 (male). I live in the Netherlands, and since I were young I’ve always had a major fascination for invertebrates. Mainly butterflies and moths, but other species aswell. Raising and breeding them was the next logical step! And over time I have acquired a lot of footage and information of the life cycle of many species. I decided to do something useful with it and create a website to distribute this information.
My favorite moths are Saturniidae, and in particular the subfamily Hemileucinae – I am a big fan of genera like Automeris, Leucanella, Dirphia, Lonomia and others. Everything about them is fascinating to me, from the larvae with impressive venomous spines to their gregarious behaviour, to the huge variety of species, shapes and colours (Hemileucinae encompass about 634+ species, that is over 25% of the 2000+ described species of Saturniidae!!), their ecology, defense mechanisms and more.
Despite this favoritism, I still like all kinds of moth species, and I will breed almost anything if I can. Although I mainly breed a lot of Saturniidae, I also keep species from different families including Sphingidae, Erebidae, Lasiocampidae, in some rare cases Limacodidae, Megalopygidae, Eupterotidae and more.
I am also proud of having discovered a few small new things about Saturniidae and having published papers about them – discovering something new or recording a new life cycle of a moth gives me the greatest kind of feeling.
Most of my knowledge is from self-study and observations from rearing captive insects. Much of it is trial and error and studying the life cycle of species I want to breed, and trying to recreate the natural conditions they require. I haven’t done any “official” education on insects although I read as much as possible about them and have learned a lot from talking to professionals and entomologists. I am also an amateur level researcher and write and publish my own entomological publications. If you scroll down, you can find my contact information. I am always eager to answer questions and talk to other people who are passionate about butterflies and moths!
Email: email@example.com (meight take a few days, I don’t read my mail that often, but I’m open to it!)
Facebook: Click here (Send me an inbox message – disclaimer, I get tons of messages every day and some slip past my attention or Facebook puts them in the spam box. Once again my apologies, but there is a small chance I won’t see it. I try my best to answer them all!)
And my username on Actias is “Bartmantis”.
ME IN OTHER MEDIA:
Facebook: Click here!
Flickr: Click here!
YouTube: Click here
Patreon: Click here
Instagram: Click here
Professional website: Click here! (not finished, under construction)
Actias.de: Click here!
LinkedIn: Click here!
Researchgate: Click here!
Hopefully this website has gained your interest! Invertebrates need more respect as pets, many people underestimate their importance, beauty and diversity.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy reading my website! – Bart Coppens
And now for some selfies througout the years..
*scroll down to see the ultimate weirdo behind the scenes here*
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