Avoiding Diapause

Most people who raise butterflies would like to witness the emergence of the adult butterfly sooner rather than later.  However, one natural obstacle that delays immediate adult emergence is the diapause or hibernation of the ovum, larva, or pupa.

This can pose an inconvenience to lab rearing when you start raising a butterfly caterpillar one year; but have to wait one or more years to obtain adults.  There are lab techniques that you can utilize to coax some species groups of butterflies to avoid diapause and produce healthy adult butterflies faster than in nature. 

These techniques include exposing butterfly immatures to:

  1. Long day photophase (18+ hours of light)
  2. High Temperatures
  3. High humidity
  4. Very healthy hostplant (or hostplant with new growth)

Interestingly enough these stimuli that prevent butterfly immatures from entering diapause are the same triggers that cause these same immatures to break diapause after overwintering.