Captive rearing is a potential management tool for fire risk reduction and to improve connectivity (augment natural populations). However, Hermes copper larvae are extremely difficult to rear in captivity, and no one has successfully reared a Hermes copper from egg to adult. Rearing efforts in 2013 provided important information in terms of foraging requirements for early instar larvae, however, breaking winter diapause remained a challenge. Researchers conducted an additional year of captive rearing, a first year with a sophisticated rearing chamber at the San Diego Zoo which can control temperature and humidity. Eggs were obtained in May-June 2016 for rearing activities in the spring of 2017. This project attempted to rear eggs to determine the optimal conditions for rearing Hermes copper in captivity and establish protocols. This is one critical barrier to several management approaches that are available for other butterfly species, which can be reared in captivity for study or for reintroduction projects.
Super Group: Rare Butterfly Management and Conservation Planning