Our fourth and final Rothschildia jacobaeae (Jacobs' silkmoth) has eclosed.
The final Jacobs' silkmoth cocoon out of the four that we obtained on 11/28/16 eclosed into a female today, at least two months after it presumably pupated, and two weeks after the previous cocoon eclosed into a male on 1/9/17. Unlike the other female that eclosed crippled on 12/25/16, this one is mostly uncrippled and only has a few wrinkles. Besides smaller antennae and larger abdomen, the female Rothschildia jacobaeae looks more or less the same as the male, but has slightly wider wings that are less falcate.
Though our 1/9/17 male is still alive, alas it has been a full two weeks and he is very close to death. Nevertheless, we still tried to obtain a pairing and dipped his antennae into the female's ovipositar to excite him, which he surprisingly responded to by beating his wings weakly. Since he was clearly too weak to initiate copulation by himself, we tried hand-pairing the two moths, but with great difficulty due to the male's flaccid and skinny abdomen. We were able to hook them together several times but each time they quickly parted because the male was too weak to hold on. Curiously however, in every attempt, the male released brown fluid that could only be sperm, though an external fertilization is simply impossible. At this point, our chances of obtaining fertile eggs are probably close to none, but we will just wait for the female to lay eggs and see what happens.
Rearing notes for our umber skippers (Poanes melane). These were found as eggs and reared on Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon).
Rearing Notes 1/12/17-1/22/17:
Life history of the Indian walkingstick (Carausius morosus), through egg, six nymphal instars, to adult.
Our oldest eri caterpillars (Samia ricini) molted into fifth instar. These are offspring of Europe sourced sibling-paired adults from a previously reared brood and have been reared indoors on citrus (Citrus).
Several of the Samia ricini larvae that were in apolysis molted into fifth instar after spending 18 days in fourth instar (four of which were spent in apolysis). They are all slightly different sizes, though the largest are at 0.9 g. Below is a compilation of me lapse photos of one of them molting.
Below are anterior and posterior views of a teneral fifth instar. The head is protruding more than it normally should and the anus looks swollen due the larva pumping air into its body to stretch the cuticle before it dries.
Below are some photos of a fully tanned fifth instar larva shot in various perspectives. Coloration is as follows: pale yellow-green body; shiny bright yellow head capsule, thoracic legs, prolegs, and posterior end; tubercles shiny blue at base, though dorsal set tipped with yellow while dorsal-lateral and lateral sets tipped with white; black spiracular rings; reddish black crochets and mandibles. The cuticle is loose, shiny, and faintly granulose. There is setae on the head capsule, thoracic legs, prolegs and tubercules. Body length 3 cm; head capsule width 4 mm; mass 0.9 g.
Here is a comparison between a freshly molted fifth instar and a full grown fourth instar. They are about the size, with the fourth instar being slightly larger if anything, though the anatomical proportions (head capsule and tubercle size to body size ratio, etc.) are slightly different of course. The fifth instar has much more vibrant colors and is shinier since the white powder that had accumulated during the fourth instar was shed off when it molted.
Fully tanned fifth instar larva on citrus.
Over the week, we have retaken photos of all the diapausing pupae and cocoons we currently have using our new Canon EOS 40D + 100mm macro lens.
In alphabetical order, the species depicted in the gallery are: Antheraea mylitta (Indian tussar moth), Antheraea polyphemus (polyphemus moth), Battus philenor hirsuta (California pipevine swallowtail), Eacles imperialis (imperial moth), Eumorpha achemon (achemon sphinx), Hyalophora cecropia (cecropia moth), Hyles lineata (white-lined sphinx), Pachysphinx modesta (modest sphinx), Papilio multicaudatus (two-tailed swallowtail), Papilio glaucus (eastern tiger swallowtail), Papilio zelicaon (anise swallowtail), Poanes melane (umber skipper), Rothschildia jacobaeae (Jacobs' silkmoth), Samia cynthia advena (cynthia silkmoth), Smerinthus ophthalmica.
Antheraea mylitta (Indian tussar moth)
Antheraea polyphemus (polyphemus moth)
Battus philenor hirsuta (California pipevine swallowtail)
Eacles imperialis (imperial moth)
Eumorpha achemon (achemon sphinx)
Hyalophora cecropia (cecropia moth)
Hyles lineata (white-lined sphinx)
Pachysphinx modesta (modest sphinx)
Papilio multicaudatus (two-tailed swallowtail)
Papilio glaucus (eastern tiger swallowtail)
Papilio zelicaon (anise swallowtail)
Poanes melane (umber skipper)
Rothschildia jacobaeae (Jacobs' silkmoth)
Samia cynthia advena (cynthia silkmoth)
Rearing notes for our fourth instar eri caterpillars (Samia ricini). These are offspring of Europe sourced sibling-paired adults from a previously reared brood and have been reared indoors on citrus (Citrus).
Rearing Notes 12/28/16-1/14/17:
Our third Jacobs' silkmoth (Rothschildia jacobaeae) has eclosed.
Of the four Jacobs' silkmoth cocoons we obtained back on 11/28/16, one eclosed into a male on 12/15/16, another as a female on 12/25/16, and now another male today. Of course the former two have already died, and due to large the time interval between eclosion dates, no pairing was obtained. Unfortunately, the situation isn't getting much better as now we have yet a another lone R. jocobaeae with no mate, with a single remaining cocoon that will hopefully eclose soon as a female. The differences in eclosion times has been very surprising and dissapointingsince one would expect that the brood was fairly synchronized in age.
Anyway, we took a few test photos of the male R. jacobaeae with our new Canon 40D + 100m macro lens we got today. For some reason, it has a huge clot on its right forewing that prevented it from expanding its wings properly so they are slightly wrinkled, though mostly perfect.
Rearing notes for our Indian walking sticks (Carausius morosus). These are offspring of an adult we have been rearing since March 2016 and a wild caught brown form adult no longer with us.
Rearing Notes 1/8/17-1/31/17:
As our six cynthia cocoons (Samia cynthia advena) are at least six weeks old, we assume they are all diapausing and thus placed them in the refrigerator at 40 F° (4-5 C°) for overwintering until March or April.
Rearing notes for our Jacobs' silkmoths (Rothschildia jacobaeae).
Rearing Notes 12/25/16-1/2/17:
This timeline is a series of daily posts recording our observations on and experiences with various insects in Albany California and surrounding areas, from 2012-2017. Since we did not publish this site until 2016, posts before that were constructed retroactively. Starting in August 2017, we moved to Ithaca, New York; posts from there on can be viewed at Timeline 2017-present: Ithaca, New York.
August 2017 (49)
July 2017 (121)
June 2017 (79)
May 2017 (77)
April 2017 (91)
March 2017 (35)
February 2017 (12)
January 2017 (10)
December 2016 (12)
November 2016 (26)
October 2016 (49)
September 2016 (84)
August 2016 (94)
July 2016 (99)
June 2016 (53)
May 2016 (21)
April 2016 (4)
January 2016 (1)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (3)
June 2015 (2)
June 2014 (3)
May 2014 (1)
April 2014 (3)
March 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (11)
August 2013 (15)
July 2013 (9)
June 2013 (5)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (2)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (2)
December 2012 (2)
November 2012 (1)
October 2012 (2)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (1)
June 2012 (1)
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
Coenonympha tullia california
Langia zenzeroides formosana
Orthosia hibisci quenquefasciata
Papilio machaon oregonius
Papilio polyxenes asterius
Samia cynthia advena
Papilio glaucus × Papilio rutulus
Papilio polyxenes asterius × Papilio zelicaon
Araneae (Class: Arachnida)