Silkworm journey

redhorse

Avid Member
WoW! Great information. I would like to open a few and look if the antenna are different between males and females like some other moths. The majority I will just monitor DAILY (looking and listening- I did that 45 years ago when I ordered fertile chicken eggs- I freaked out when they peeped at day 20 ) and I don't want to miss anything (well, the leaking part would be okay).

The ones that don't make a cocoon did they spin silk or just couldn't find the right place? This is getting more interesting and only personal experience can bring this stuff to the table.. Thanks again!
 

Firewallx

Member
I’ve had a few that have pupated without a cocoon. I’ve lightly wrapped them in some extra silk and crossed my fingers. Surprisingly they hatched!
You are very lucky. Mine didn't. I've heard that many don't.

@redhorse thank you for your kind words. The chicks peeping sounds cool. How long do they take to hatch?
The ones that don't make a cocoon sometimes they go through the motions as if spinning silk in random places but nothing comes out. Others put threads all over the place but can't do more than that. They might pupate without a cocoon, or they die. Or in Misskittles case, they are lucky enough to live. I had one that put down silk all around the edges of the gutter guard and hid underneath it. It was sealed to the container. He did die.

Its probably best not to open them up while they are undergoing changes. The males and females do have differences in antennae, the male's are bigger. When they emerge, you will be able to examine them, until then, they will be in their pupal casing.
Yeah the squirting thing is a surprising thing. Heads up; even after they use it to emerge, they can still squirt again if surprised. I remember the first time that happened to me; I picked up Skinny Minnie Miller and she just let go a brown stream. I didn't expect that.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Firewallx I wonder if you’ve noticed that the cocoons of the females are a bit plumper. With this last batch I started wondering about it and tried to predict. Although I often found more than one emerged, my guesses did seem to be right for those times when just one emerged.
 

redhorse

Avid Member
Not much to report but the cocoons are rolling in with container #2 (carrot added).

The biggest thing today was going over the word "EWW ". Not Extended Work Week, but the disgusting type. AKA Yuck!

Today was the first time seeing, smelling and cleaning up their purge. EWW!

The interesting thing about the liquid was that it tasted--- NOPE!!!:ROFLMAO: Smelled like snake musk, which was diluted about 80% (and I know snake musk). * possibility could be that the liquid and cardboard (wet) produced the odor. I will check tomorrow with only the liquid since it was all so nasty just wanted to clean it up..

NOTE: Keep paper towels in bin until all have cocooned. I did not which caused for extra cleaning.(y)

I add all this info because I am really afraid of the diseases they get and I know if I am doing something really wrong (like earlier) constructive criticism / guidance really helped.. Thanks all :D

After learning about the brown liquid (thanks you), I decided to put the cocoons sideways instead of up and down as in earlier pictures. I am thinking if I make the mistake of putting the pupas upside down they might goo themselves to death. Just making sure.

Firewallx- Thanks for the advice about not opening any. Just keeping it honest. I plan to open 1. I need to take daily photos of the pupa and see what changes they make. With my swallowtail, I was able to see the black of the wings inside the chrysalis , the day before it hatched. Only this one time. pinky promises.

I can now tell what a caterpillar looks like after a purge (like an old mans bald head). Note: I am older man with balding head so know. ha ha
 

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Firewallx

Member
@Firewallx I wonder if you’ve noticed that the cocoons of the females are a bit plumper. With this last batch I started wondering about it and tried to predict. Although I often found more than one emerged, my guesses did seem to be right for those times when just one emerged.
Generally, I've read that's the case, and often that is true. However, there are exceptions to the rule. I did have one small cocoon that I was positive was going to be male, but it was a tiny female. I was very surprised since most of my girls are much bigger than that. Even some of the boys were bigger than that.
But yes,, if you notice that some are significantly larger, they are most likely female.

@redhorse I understand that you want to see the changes. Just be careful and maybe give them a few days before you do so. I had a few swallowtails several years back, so I know what you mean.
Hahaha on the purge! I find it is different depending on what they ate. When I fed mulberry leaves, it was a much larger green wet spat.
 

redhorse

Avid Member
Update! There are about 5 worms still looking to cocoon.
Wanted to share this Wood Moth from Australia. How big would the caterpillar be? Ginormous!
2nd pic not sure about it but know she or he should have worked on their nails 1st. (y)
 

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redhorse

Avid Member
Maybe like this wee little lizard-

"Megalania (Varanus priscus) is an extinct species of giant monitor lizard, part of the megafaunal assemblage that inhabited Australia during the Pleistocene." Thank you Google

So, I opened one cocoon and sent the silk to mom in Florida (she gets a kick sharing my crazy critter life).
3rd pic... I think she is smiling. :)
 

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redhorse

Avid Member
Ramrod-- Thanks for your service and all after..
I expanded the picture on the computer and placed colored dots on them. 10 dots at a time and all different colors. So at the end just added the different colors and multiplied by 10. I could have done 20 or 50 but was learning as I was going along.
Few updates from today.

So there are only 3 pillars that have not cocooned and all were from the original container with just the Mulberry mix. Weird think is, it was also the 1st to cocoon.
2nd with the carrots all cocooned 1st then the mixed container.
My plan is not to separate cocoons back into their containers and take 1/2 out of their paper towel rolls to measure size and record what hatches from them.

Pupa has no visual change-

YES! I know I have to much time on my hands but it is a break from feeding Chameleons, wild lizards, turtles and cleaning house. (y)

Just know-- If eggs are produced they will be given away free if anyone is interested (just help with the mail cost). I can be cheap.. Personality flaw.
 

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Firewallx

Member
It's great to see you invest so much interest in this. Funny how there's always some stragglers at the end. I often have just one caterpillar left after all others have cocooned. Its sad because if it takes too long, it might hatch well after its siblings have passed away with no one for it to mate with. That happened once or twice in my experience.
Let's all place bets on which gender will hatch from each cocoon! (just kidding)
If you are giving away eggs in the future, I would gladly take some. I want to diversify my silks gene pool in the future. Plus you will know that your little guys are going to be loved and become part of a little family.
I live in Quebec, Canada.
 

redhorse

Avid Member
Firewallx- sounds good. I don't know rules or laws but will send with info I was given for licensing. Ignorance is bliss. I think that is what is said, I don't know, I'm ignorant to chosen issues. :)

Last updates for today..
1. The 3x5 cards that will be placed in containers to (hopefully) get eggs laid on (keep them out until breeding happens so they don't get all the juices that might come out of the moths).
2. container #2 How I will try to monitor.
3. container #3 " ".
4. Large and small from container #2
5. Large-small- med from container #2

The other containers (which I will add pics tomorrow) will show the difference in cocoon sizes.

Plus, the large one almost looks as if 2 worms cocooned together but not sure at the moment. It is just BIG and WEIRD shaped.
Thanks for visiting. "Bye, Ya'll come back now! Ya hear?" Thank you Beverly Hillbillies. ha ha ha
 

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Ramrod

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ramrod-- Thanks for your service and all after..
I expanded the picture on the computer and placed colored dots on them. 10 dots at a time and all different colors. So at the end just added the different colors and multiplied by 10. I could have done 20 or 50 but was learning as I was going along.
Few updates from today.

So there are only 3 pillars that have not cocooned and all were from the original container with just the Mulberry mix. Weird think is, it was also the 1st to cocoon.
2nd with the carrots all cocooned 1st then the mixed container.
My plan is not to separate cocoons back into their containers and take 1/2 out of their paper towel rolls to measure size and record what hatches from them.

Pupa has no visual change-

YES! I know I have to much time on my hands but it is a break from feeding Chameleons, wild lizards, turtles and cleaning house. (y)

Just know-- If eggs are produced they will be given away free if anyone is interested (just help with the mail cost). I can be cheap.. Personality flaw.
Nice to see your interest and devotion to a project like this. Also thank you for sharing your information with us all😉
Feel free to PM me with details when it comes time to send out eggs.
 
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