Carolina sphinx moth pupa not hatching?

I have two Carolina sphinx moth (Manduca sexta). I bought them from a local pet store that sold them as live food hoping I could raise them into cool big sphinx moths. I don’t remember the exact day I bought them but I do know that the male pupated on the 1/31/22 which as of writing this was about 4 months ago, the female pupated a few days later. They are still pupa and they haven’t hatched into moths yet. I’m not quite sure if theres something I need to do to get them to hatch, their room is a comfortable and consistent temperature, they get misted with water so they dont dry out, and they’re in a small open Tupperware full of dirt. A few weeks ago I had assumed they had already died and I was going to dissect them, but I was feeling a little squeamish about it so I didnt just go right in. I lightly touched the female pupa’s abdomen with the scalpel and she started moving so I put them back. The reason I was going to dissect the female pupa is because her pupa is a much lighter color than the male and appears like goo when held up to the light, unlike the male pupa who is darker and not see through.

I remember when I posted the picture of my male mid pupation on reddit someone commented something along the lines of “Your pupa is very sick, it is going to die” followed by “Yes, it is very infected”. They were referring to the way the liquid inside the pupa looked. At first I was worried that the hornworms had been sabotaged by the pet store to not be able to hatch into moths either to prevent an invasive species from being released or to prevent people from breeding moths to get free hornworms. However I’ve seen several examples of people who own reptiles showing pictures of Manduca sexta and/or Bombyx mori larva that weren’t eaten soon enough and hatched into moths. Meanwhile I’m trying to raise these hornworms into moths and theres people out there that just get moths on accident seemingly without even trying to. I’m not sure if theres something I’m doing wrong or if the hornworms I bought just happened to be infected, I actually bought 3 but one of them died going into it’s 4rth instar. I have pictures too, its just a little late for me to send them to my laptop from my phone and upload them to this post right now.

Hey @wolfram06,

I’ve had success rearing Manduca sexta on several occasions, typically wild ones off of tomato plants and not from the pet trade. I would be very surprised if the pet store was going to any length to ‘sabotage’ the larvae. In the wild, Manduca sp. typically survive through the winter period as a pupae and experience inconsistent temperatures. Some moths rely on colder temperatures, followed by a warming to properly trigger metamorphism. If my caterpillars pupate in the early summer months, they typically emerge quickly, before late summer/fall. If they pupate late in the summer or fall, they will not emerge until early summer the following year. I simulate cold temps by placing the pupae in their soil in a garage or closest where temps may get down to the 40’s-50s Fahrenheit for several weeks. Not saying this is exactly what your issue is, just a tip that I have found success with. There have been occasions where my pupae just never emerged!

Best of Luck!

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