Rearing notes for cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena) fifth instar larvae. Stock originated as pupae from Pennsylvania.
Rearing notes 8/5/17-8/??/17:
Rearing notes for cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena) fourth instar larvae. Stock originated as pupae from Pennsylvania.
Rearing notes 7/30/17-8/3/17:
Rearing notes for cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena) third instar larvae. Stock originated as pupae from Pennsylvania.
Rearing notes 7/26/17-7/29/17:
Rearing notes for cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena) second instar larvae. Stock originated as pupae from Pennsylvania.
Rearing notes 7/22/17-7/25/17:
Rearing notes for cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena) first instar larvae. Stock originated as pupae from Pennsylvania.
Rearing notes 7/17/17-7/21/17:
Our cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena) eggs have started to hatch. Stock originated as pupae from Pennsylvania, November 2016.
After about ten days, the cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena) eggs have started to hatch. About 40 so far.
The newborn larvae look similar to the ricini (Samia ricini), obviously, but they aren't exactly the same. The cynthia look to have bigger black markings and their hair is white, not black. The cynthia are shown on the top row; the ricini are on the bottom.
Like the ricini, they group together immediately as they hatch, regrouping quite quickly when broken apart. We put the larvae all on sweetgum (Liquidambar). The only other option was Prunus, namely plum, which we don't have a whole lot of good quality leaves of. The sweetgum should work for these, as it did with the ricini, but in our experience these larvae are so polyphagous that they will pretty much eat anything initially. You can't tell for sure if a host is suitable until the fourth or fifth instar. . . So far there have been a few nibbles.
We have collected some eggs laid by our first female cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena).
The first of our two female cynthia silkmoths (Samia cynthia advena) that paired twice (leaving the other female without a mate. . .) a few days ago managed to squeeze out a few eggs. She laid quite a few on the first two nights, but after that seemed to completely loose interest. We have always had troubled with getting these saturniids to lay eggs, especially the Atticini. In total we only managed to get 62 out of her before she died, still with a rock hard abdomen probably containing some 200 eggs.
We have put these 62 into the incubator since its getting quite late considering we only have about five weeks before we leave for New York. We're not sure what host plant we will use for these once they hatch. Obviously, tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) would probably be preferred, but we don't have that anywhere here. The top two alternative that we are considering are sweetgum (Liquidambar), which our second instar Samia ricini seem to be doing exceptionally well on, or plum (Prunus) which was the best host for our previous Samia ricini rearing.
Rearing notes for our cynthia silkmoths (Samia cynthia advena). Stock originated as overwintering cocoons from Pennsylvania, 2016.
Rearing notes 7/1/17-7/7/17:
Finally, a female cynthia silkmoth (Samia cynthia advena) has eclosed. Stock originated as cocoons from Pennsylvania.
Today we had two more cynthia silkmoths (Samia cynthia advena) eclose, one of which (thankfully) is a female. We are still somewhat in disbelief that these cynthia silkmoths emerged so close to each other and at about the right time that they would in the wild while exposed to the most unnatural conditions. We still don't know when exactly they decided to break diapause and why.
The female is not much larger than the males in terms of wing area, but of course it is much fatter. This particular female has slightly wrinkled wings, but that is probably a result of us disturbing it just slightly while it was expanding. It looks much darker in color than any of the males, a bit closer to the chocolate brown of Samia ricini.
We are going to put all of the moths into a tub and try to let them pair by themselves. This shouldn't be a problem, based on what we have seen with ricini. However, these are distinctly wild and are extremely active. If it doesn't work, we can place them in an actual flight cage, but it's doubtful it will come down to that.
Our cynthia silkmoths (Samia cynthia advena) have begun to eclose. Stock originated as cocoons from Pennsylvania.
After a long, ambiguous wait, one of our cynthia silkmoths (Samia cynthia advena) has finally eclosed. We originally put these in the fridge in January after confirming that they were in diapause and then took them out again right at the start of May and put them in the incubator at 80 °F. When they didn't eclose by mid-June, we knew something was obviously up. Just like the imperials (Eacles imperialis) that don't normally eclose until late summer, they must take some pretty specific cues or simply have some kind of internal timer to make sure that they come out the second the weather warms up. So, putting them in the incubator probably wasn't enough.
At that point, we fished out five cocoons (we started with six) from piles of other cocoons and pupae, including Samia ricini, from the incubator and turned it off to help with the utility bill. After weighing, we confirmed that one was dead and tossed it. The remaining four were left in a cardboard box.
Even though we knew we had missed one of the cocoons, it still was still surprising when we found this incredibly colored and crisp male in the incubator today. It was unmistakable as cynthia and not the, what now seems quite hideous, ricini. This true cynthia, perhaps also somewhat inbred at this point, is still a very robust and wild-like moth. The thing's perfectly clean and well shapen wings are a beacon in the legion of crippled and deformed ricini's that also recently eclosed. Not to mention, they are a lot bigger and much more functional.
The coloration of this male cynthia is also completely different than the drab ricini. The dark, chocolate brown of the latter is replaced by a fine goldenish tan. The vertical stripes are also lined in the most glorious pink that provide a much needed contrast. In general, the patterns on the wings and the body are also just so much more defined. Those ricini's are truly some sad creatures. . .
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)