Apr 26, 2011

Silkies beginning the 3rd instar and some sad news


Three of our little silkworms are dead or dying.  I suspect the first was  moved from his silk pad before he could finish molting.  

The second tumbled off the brush as I was moving him to cleaner quarters.  Sigh......  I feel awful and am certain, that they are holding a trial in their little container to see if I'm guilty of wormicide.  

The final fellow is a  mystery.  He became very lethargic and took on dark brown color.  I also noticed a spot of what might be vomit on the mesh in front of him.  In the fear that it was a bacterial infection, I removed him from the group before he passed.   Everyone in his container is now in quarentine and will be watched very closely.  I am moving them to larger quarters as they finish molting and will sterilize the container before any silkies move back in.

As for the survivors, the first day hatchlings are now finishing their 2nd molt and begining their 3rd instar.  It's been fascinating to watch this process.  You can see 2 silkies below.  The one in the back has just started to molt.  He's not been in the prayer pose long.  He'll stay this way for about a day.  Then slowly slip out of his skin and look like the one in front.  Notice the guy in front looks faceless in comparison.  I think he's still waiting for his "face" to fully harden.  After crawling out of his skin, he gets back into the prayer pose and sits there a while ( maybe 1-3 hrs.)  before going off to look for food.   He is now considered to be in his 3rd instar. 

Prayer pose

Loosing his "face" (that shiny black thing hanging off his head)

I call this guy the acrobat.  He's still eating upside down, tail in the air through the mesh while everyone else is a statue.  I think he was a later hatch. 

This last picture is of the first 3 silkies to reach their 3rd instar.  They finished molting last night (day 8 for them) and recieved the honor of making the trip to school with the kids.  About 40 more finished their molt over night. 

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