San Diego Management & Monitoring Program

Invertebrate Species
Hermes Copper Larval Captive Rearing

in progress

Project description

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.

Project groups

Super Group: Rare Butterfly Management and Conservation Planning


Project Group: Hermes Copper Butterfly

Project focus

Project type: Other

Target species: Hermes copper

Data steward: Dan Marschalek

Investigator: Douglas Deutschman

Main implementing entity: San Diego State University

Point of contact: Dan Marschalek

SDMMP lead: Kris Preston

Study lead: Dan Marschalek