Antheraea Polyphemus ova question

  • I live in the US. I am still somewhat new to Saturniid breeding. Recently I had a male and a female Polyphemus moth emerge in a rearing cage indoors. They came from the same brood although I’m not sure about the generations prior. The second night, the female began laying eggs. I did not observe a pairing. I then released the male since it kept frantically flapping around. The female laid a few eggs at a time over the course of a few days. Last night, I put another newly emerged female outside in a cage to attract a male. This morning I discovered her laying eggs, but what seemed to be all her eggs at once with a bit of dark sticky substance between some of them (I did not see this on the indoor female’s eggs).

    My questions are, does this sound like a male came to fertilize during the night? Is there a way to tell if Polyphemus eggs are fertile? And lastly, how long does Polyphemus stay attached while they are mating? Any answers are appreciated.

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  • Usually polyphemus will stay copulated until the next day, after pairing in the evening. I am sure there

    are exceptions.

    The mass laying sounds abnormal.

    My guess would be any ova are probably not fertilized, from either female.

    I always keep ova for at least 14 days, sometimes longer, or unless the ova collapse and shrink,

    then that is a clear sign of infertility. Most Saturniidae hatch in 10 days, give or take, others can take

    much longer.

    Use a small container, don't put any leaves in with ova, I use a petri dish for ova and mist the top of the dish


    Lastly, it's getting late for caterpillars, especially outdoors.