Jun 6, 2011

Moths and Eggs!

This update is for Jenni, who has been giving me a hard time about not having a new entry.  What can I say, it takes time for silkworms to emerge. 

What's happened since the last post?

I took about 50 of the white cocoons, cut them open, removed the pupa and shed skin saving the cocoon for later processing.  I'm after a lofty spun yarn I can knit or crochet with, not a fine reeled filament, so cutting the cocoons doesn't effect my final product.  However, I did save and stifle about 20 intact cocoons to reel at a later time. 
pupas removed from cocoon.
I took the pupas I removed to a local exotic animal shop called Animal Trax.  Charlie, the resident Bearded Dragon at the shop loved eating them.

The remaining white cocoons and all of the colored cocoons have been given a chance to emerge, mate and lay eggs.  The results from the colored guys have been very interesting.  Here it is in a nutshell.

Natural/white cocoons = white moths and cream colored eggs
Glowing cyan cocoons = white moths with a blue skin that shows between segments and in females scent gland, and blue eggs.
Freshly laid Glowing Cyan
Cotton candy cocoons= pink moths with darker pink skin showing between segments and pink eggs.
Cotton Candy Moths and Cocoon
Magic purple cocoons= white moths with purple skin showing between segments, and tan eggs.

Colored moths laid colored eggs based on the color of the female. The intensity of the female's body color/cocoon color is also evident in the egg color. The male's color seems to have no effect on the eggs.

I don't know if it is coincidence, but the moths fed Magic Purple are consistently taking longer to emerge/getting stuck in their cocoons and having to be cut out, and emerging with "bald spots" possibly from trying to escape from their cocoons.  
Silk moths and cocoons from colored chow
(clockwise from the top):
Magic Purple, Glowing Cyan, Cotton Candy. 
The Cyan and Cotton Candy moths are mating. 
The larger of each pair is the female.
Eggs (clockwise from top left corner):
Freshly laid Glowing cyan,
Day old Glowing Cyan that have turned
 dark as a sign of being fertilized.
Newly laid Cotton Candy from my
brightest moth.  Day old Cotton
Candy showing no color change,
 Natural colored day old eggs showing
 signs of fertility, ??

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