Deathshead hawk moth safe?


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I'm going to start keeping a colony of Deathshead hawk moths(A. atropos) and am wondering if they are safe for chameleons to eat? They are in the same family as hornworms(and I know hornworms are toxic if they eat tomato plants), but suposedly the hornworm chow from mulberry farms is safe to feed hornworms to be used as food. My moths will be eating Privet or Potato leaves, are those plants safe for chams? If not I'll see if I can get them eating hornworm chow and then I think they'd be safe. But I just thought I'd ask. Right now my chameleon is eating crickets. But I thought why not have fun and breed an insect I enjoy as an extra food source.
I have never heard of that kind of moth. I do feed wild moths from my area to my chameleon.

What makes you think that hornworms are posionus after eating tomatoes. Any time you feed them something that has a high aciditity level it will slow the absorbtion of calcium of all stomach contents. This is also true in humans. I have heard this a couple of times now. I really do not understand what chemical or chemical reaction could be happening to cause a toxic assumption. Personally I would not worry although I think you could find way better things to gut load with then tomatoes.

You could try silkworms. There are several places to obtain them that I know of and have great nutritional value.
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A simple google search reveals information from the California Poison Control System site. You may want to stick with the hornworm food or find some other foods that the worm will eat. Raspberry and blackberry plants are in the same general family as privet.. would they eat them? Those plants are easy to come by and considered nontoxic.

Potato plant
Solanum tuberosum
1 (green parts)

1 - Major Toxicity
These plants may cause serious illness or death. If ingested, immediately call the Poison Control Center or your doctor.

Ligustrum spp.

2 - Minor Toxicity
Ingestion of these plants may cause minor illnesses such as vomiting or diarrhea. If ingested, call the Poison Control Center or your doctor.

4 - Dermatitis
The juice, sap, or thorns of these plants may cause a skin rash or irritation. Wash the affected area of skin with soap and water as soon as possible after contact. The rashes may be very serious and painful. Call the Poison Control Center or your doctor if symptoms appear following contact with the plants.
It was a moth called a death something. Good memory.

I would just like to add to whatch what kind of catepillars you feed to your chameleon. Catepillars that have hair on their body have venom. This venom when it comes in contact with skin cause the body to hemridge. The body can no longer coagulate the blood in that area and animals can bleed to death.
3-4 years ago a mysterious outbreak happen in a South American country. Doctors from all over the world where flow in. The symptoms where hemridges all over the body and nothing would stop it. The obvious worry that a new disease or new strand of ebolia had been discovered. This outbreak killed 400 plus people. A native indian priest finally showed the doctors that it was the catepillar that where doing it. The residental growth of the city was pushing into the boundaries of the jungle which is why most people knew nothing about this paticular type of catepillar. Most catepillar can not pentrate are skin enough to cause this effect on humans but internally this would be a bad thing for a lot of animals. Never feed wild catepillars to anything. Ones without these hairs are safe but they maybe on a microscopic level so do not take chances with something you do not know about in this catagory.
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I thought it was too little acid that stopped calcium absorption? Can you tell me where you got that information please? I'd like to read it.

I'd also like to read the ebola/caterpillar article if you have it.

Here are the articles I read about calcium absorption and acid...
"If the stomach produces too little stomach acid (hydrochloric acid), calcium remains insoluble and cannot be ionized, which is necessary for it to be assimilated in the intestines."
"take calcium carbonate with meals, since stomach acid secreted during digestion helps enhance its absorption."

Its interesting about the hairs on caterpillars causing bleeding. I knew that some of the species contained toxins, but not that they caused bleeding.

Its amazing how much that caterpillar looks like a hornworm!


Another interesting thing about them....the moths squeak....and bees attack them when they go after the honey...
"The well known "Death's Head Hawk Moth" (Acherontia Atropos) makes a loud squeaking noise at times; and as he is a great thief, and steals honey of the poor bees, he has been supposed to strike terror into them by this noise; but whether so or not, he frequently gets the worst of it, as the following instance, reported in the Entomologist's Monthly Magazine for September, would seem to show. The moth "was covered with bees, which were pushing it out at the entrance, and endeavouring to kill it. Apparently it had been stung, for it seemed unable to fly, yet made a loud squeaking noise as if in self defence." To this the editors append an interesting note: "It sometimes happens that the bees cannot eject the intruder, and dispose of its body by entombing it in wax.""

How about this source of food?? (Better not!)...
"he larva of the Death's Head moth (Acherontia atropos) occasionally bore into hemp stalks."

This site lists a lot of plants that the caterpillar will eat...but you need to research them to see if they are poison and if they are even available...
The link to acidity affecting calcium absobtion.
This is a great put together paper on the subject of MBD.

There is no article that I have read on the ebolia. It was an hour long show on that paticular event that happened in South America. The catepillar itself has been featured several time on this show called "Stings, Fangs, and Venom". That show on the event in South America was very graphic and kind of hard to watch because of it.
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