Thursday, 23 July 2009

Well, time marches on and all the Japanese cats have spun, as have most of the a.pernyi - just the last two huge chaps to decide they've eaten enough.
The Robin Moths are changing daily, most have gone through their black, hairy stage and are beginning to enter the "yellow with red knobs on their head" stage!
I have passed some of the Robin babies on to a friend and I hope she will enjoy them as much as I do.
I have some Chinese Oak moth eggs that arrived in the post this morning from Worldwide Butterflies (, so I hope they will hatch - this will be the last lot of eggs for this year - I hope the moths that are pupating will emerge and mate and I can store some fertile eggs for next year.

I'm going to post 4 photos, one of the three stages of the Robin cats, a serendipitous opportunity as I was cleaning them today, one of the larger of the small black cats up against an almost fully grown a.pernyi cat (the Robins are usually slightly larger than these!) and a close up of the current instar of the Robin babies

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Found a huge (easily 15cm ) green caterpillar trotting - well, ambling, really - across the dining room chair last night. I put him back on the oak and he seems to be fine. They have masses of food, so I don't think he was hungry, more likely looking for a quiet spot to spin.

The Robin Moth babies are getting bigger by the minute and I expect some of them to shed their first skin any time now.

The remaining H. Maia has gone into a sort of trance - I'm not sure if he is about to spin, or if he's just feeling a bit gormless. I'm fairly sure he isn't unwell, though he seems not to be eating the available food. I hope he's considering cocooning, but we shall just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Thought you might like to see these two Cherry Moths that emerged from the three cocoons I had.
I am overrun with tiny little Robin Moth babies - they are chomping merrily away on the lilac.
The a. yamamai are all cocooned now, so I'm hoping for both sexes to emerge in a few weeks and give me some fertile eggs for next year.

When I have a little time - I'm not only doing masses of spinning and dyeing tuition but also upgrading my teaching qualifications - (not to mention racing up and down the hill to gather armfuls of oak branches for the caterpillars!) I'm going to do a comparison of all the silks from the varieties of saturniids I have raised over the past few years. I've got bombyx mori, the Indian and American Moon Moths, Robin Moth, Japanese Silk Moth, Chinese Silk Moth, Tree of Heaven Silk Moth, Giant Atlas Silkmoth, R. Fugex, Cherry Moth, Emperor Moth, Spanish Peacock Moth, and the Emperor Gum Moth cocoons. Most are broken cocoons, though I have one or two I could reel as the occupants have never emerged .