Antheraea polyphemus eggs from the first inbred pairing have begun to hatch. We discuss our thoughts on what host plants we are considering to use for this year's rearing.
Less than two weeks after the eggs from the first inbred pairing were laid, almost all of the more than a hundred eggs hatched this afternoon. It is surprisingly that they came out so synchronously despite being laid on separate days. The newborn larvae were very active and ate most of their egg shells. They are pale yellow with orange tubercles and large brown heads.
Like with the cecropia larvae, we plan to sleeve all the larvae on live trees once they get a little larger and thus we need to choose abundant and convenient hosts that are close to our house. If we were to choose any host we wanted, we would definitely stick to trees of the Fagaceae, the preferred and probably ancestral Antheraea host, especially oak. It’s what we’ve always used in the past and worked extremely well last year (the parents).
Unfortunately, despite the extreme abundance of oak and birch trees around town, there is only a single oak tree next to our house that is probably too tall to sleeve many larvae and is not the best quality. Thus, we’ll have to try some new hosts this year just like with the cecropia. In fact, we will probably just use the same hosts, boxelder (Acer negundo), black walnut (Juglans nigra), and chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), as the cecropias since they are so abundant (well, at least the latter two).
For today, we decided to split the 100+ newborns into two boxes and offered one boxelder and the other walnut. We have no idea how the larvae will perform on these hosts compared to oak, but we imagine they can’t be too bad given how polyphagous the species is. Just because oak is the most preferred in the wild doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best (though there are a number of reasons why it might be due to coevolution), so it will be interesting how they perform on boxelder and walnut.
So far a few have taken nibbles out of the cuttings but the vast majority are either just sitting there or wandering around restlessly. Many Saturniidae we have reared need at least a day to fully settle down and feed on the host and this species tends to be one of the most troublesome. The fact that they are solitary feeders from birth (unlike the North American Attacini) makes these even harder to settle down since they are crowded in the boxes and disturb each other. If was already evening by the time we put in the cuttings so we just left them for the night and hopefully they will feed at some point during the night.
Alan Liang is a student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York pursuing an undergraduate degree in entomology. He is co-owner and a main contributor of the Liang Insects blog and photographs.
Ithaca, New York
This timeline is a series of daily posts recording our observations and experiences with various insects (primarily Lepidoptera) around the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, starting from the time we moved here in 2017. As this is a personal blog, we try to keep collections/rearings for university research and course work to a minimum, and mainly focus on just the species we catch and raise for our own fun and interest. Posts prior to this time can be viewed at Timeline 2012-2017: Albany, California, though there is occasionally some crossover when we have returned home during breaks or reared stock derived from home (see Albany, California Updates).
July 2020 (1)
August 2019 (2)
July 2019 (35)
June 2019 (46)
May 2019 (20)
March 2019 (1)
January 2019 (1)
September 2018 (1)*
August 2018 (9)*
July 2018 (11)*
June 2018 (22*)
May 2018 (18)*
April 2018 (2)*
January 2018 (6)
December 2017 (5)
November 2017 (1)
October 2017 (5)
September 2017 (26)
August 2017 (19)
*Currently, a significant portion of 2018 posts are missing. The notes/photos for this time period are saved on our personal files but the posts were never built due to a busy schedule that year. We are still actively building these posts when we have the time.
Full Species List
(Alphabetical by scientific name)
- Not every species we encounter is necessarily presented on this site, rather a selection of those that were of particular interest to us and that we felt were worth documenting.
- We can't guarantee that all species have been identified accurately, particularly taxa we are not as familiar with.
Battus philenor hirsuta
Liminitis arthemis arthemis
Limenitis arthemis astyanax
Papilio polyxenes asterius
Papilio polyxenes asterius × Papilio zelicaon
Albany, California Updates