Sunday, 28 June 2009

In the picture of the Indian Moon Moth babies, at about 11 o'clock above the 20 p is an egg
The Robin Moth babies seem to be doing well, munching away on lilac leaves. One of the H. Maia cats has gone walkabout - I dare say I'll find a cocoon somewhere at some point! The little a. luna, only two survived, are now out on branches and one of them has trotted off, too - I suspect it is in the oak leaves, with the a.yamamai, who have nearly all cocooned, and the a.pernyi, who don't look very far off and are eating massive quantities.

The little a.luna have been eating birch, one of the most common trees in the UK, but strangely pretty much absent from this corner of Devon. I rather hope, that like the a.pernyi who transferred themselves from hawthorn to oak when out "free range," the a.luna might be doing the same. If they are all eating the same food it makes life much easier!

I am about to upload two photos - one of the tiny Robin Moth cats, who are tiny as all silkmoth cats are when hatched, and one of the adult moth on its cocoon. These little black babies will eventually be the size and colour of the chap who adorns the top of the blog. I foolishly haven't put a coin into the box when photographing, to give the scale, but they are about half the length of an adult female pinkie fingernail, one cut short - not a glamour puss talon!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Great excitement! My Robin moth eggs, laid by the generation from last year who were overwintered as cocoons in the fridge and completed their life cycle this spring, are hatching! Lots of tiny little black cats are swarming over the lilac leaves they eat and it is rather poignant that the last of the adult moths was dead in the cage this morning - last night she was still just about alive and there were no caterpillars. Is this coincidence or did her death trigger the hatching? I have no idea.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Well, great excitement! I keep the silkworms "free range," on branches of their foodstuff. Occasionally we find one in a place it shouldn't really be. I have just been through to check on them and all was well. Looking up, something on the lintel of the doors to the conservatory caught my eye - a large green blob.

I got the chair, stood on it and my suspicions were confirmed - it is a Japanese silk moth caterpillar spinning a cocoon. So I rushed for the camera and will post the results. The cocoon is still at the transparent stage, so I can see the caterpillar moving its head in the characteristic figure of eight movement, as it weaves its little shell around itself. Miraculous!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

I got a really nice picture of and H.maia cat and whilst in a photgraphic mood, took a detail of the wing of the Robin Moth - beautiful, though my pic doesn't do it justice. They are - silkmoths generally - so furry. Quite different from butterflies and equally as attractive, if not more so.
One of the cats got himself into a fix today - he somehow managed to get himself inbetween two branches and looked as though he was performing some gymnastic trick. I released him, and seems to have not suffered too much so I hope no internal damage has been done.

Still waiting for those eggs to hatch!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Well, how disgraceful. I've let two months go by without an entry and the silkworms have been going great guns! The chap at the top of the blog is now a moth though obviously I don't know which of the emerging cocoons was his/ers. There have been two confirmed matings and now I'm waiting for some eggs to hatch. I have two opportunities, as I have also bought some fresh Robin Moth eggs - belt and braces!

The a.yamamai are just about to spin, by the look of things, the a.pernyai are growing furiously, and I have two h.maia cats that look to be on their last instar. I also have two a.luna cats that got off to a bad start but are manfully chewing away and getting bigger slowly.

My fugex eggs have not hatched, nor have I had any luck with the cocoons - three hatched but no male so far, and the girls are past it.

I have degummed a whole lot of cocoons - the smell doesn't improve! - and am wondering what to do with the silk when I have spun it.