Posts by annalist

    oh yeah now that you mention Samia, i didn't notice anything with their cocoons, but the caterpillars themselves have this kind of white waxy substance all over their body, when you rub your fingers together after handling the Samia caterpillars it feels yucky and weird and waxy. I thought it might be some moisture regulating thing, or yeah, just something that tastes bad for predators.

    The powder in the anthraea cocoons make me sneeze.

    Hello all,

    This has me bugging for years now. Does anyone know what the white powdery substance is that can be found on anthereae cocoons?

    Well, "on" might not be the correct word, it's more like "in", like trapped between the layers of silk and it falls out when you pull the layers of silk apart.

    Does anyone know what it is and what it's function is?

    I also noticed that the few individuals that pupate without spinning a cocoon are covered in that same white stuff when they are close to becoming a prepupa.

    Please enlighten me! :smiling_face:


    Thanks both for you reply.

    I’m not sure, but i have a vague memory of once reading something about getting all male moths due to something (infection, type of food, inbreeding?). So i thought there might be a reason. But maybe not, it’s just bad luck.


    This is my third year raising Antheraea yamamai. So far i’ve always had a good mix of male and female moths.

    But this year all my 18 Antheraea yamamai cocoons had male moths.

    This is really bugging me. can it be pure coincidence? Or is there a reason why this happened?

    Inbreeding maybe?

    I am sad, the males are sad and lonely.

    Thank you all for your replies and advice!

    I’ll try some wet qtips with the next stuck one.
    But of course i’d prefer them to not get stuck in the first place.

    I tend to cut off the pieces of branches or leaves on which the caterpillars sit to moult and put all the moulting ones in a separated box so they are left in peace, but maybe that’s too much manipulation?

    I’m keeping the caterpillars in plastic boxes (with air holes), so i’m a bit scared spraying will cause mold although i do spray the leaves occasionally.
    I do have netting cages too but it dries out the leaves so fast. Also the plastic boxes are stackable thus take up less space (my space is quite limited).

    It’s just that i find the plastic boxes more practical to keep caterpillars in instead of the netting cages.
    But, indeed, because they are kept in plastic boxes i make sure to clean them out daily (set aside all branches with caterpillars on them, remove old and dried out leaves, frass and replace the paper towels) so it is very likely that i handle them too much.

    The air in the room might be too dry though, but i figured inside the boxes should be more humid as the paper towels at the bottom of the boxes are always slightly damp

    Oh yes, those black spots, i noticed those last year too, and I just saw a tiny spot on one of the caterpillars today too.
    Could it be mold?

    When one starts the shedding and ends up being stuck, how much time is there before they start to suffocate?

    Hello all,

    A lot of my Antheraea yamamai larvae fail to shed their fourth skin. They end up being stuck in it. It often seem to be holding very strongly around the breathing spiracles.
    Sometimes they get out partially and the old skin is in pieces still around their body, glued to their body at the spiracles.
    Sometimes i can help them out by peeling off the old skin with tweezers, but it is hard to get all the bits off without damageing the new skin.
    Sometimes it’s just impossible to get it off.

    Does anyone know what might cause this? Too hot? Too cold? Too humid? Too dry?
    Or does any of you have the same issue happening with any of their larvae?

    I had exactly the same issue happening with them last year.

    She indeed laid a couple of eggs, maybe 20 or so.

    I now have 3 males and 3 females, i put them in small cages next to the open window and still nothing has happened... I’m wondering if maybe the nights are too cold and maybe make them inactive. Not sure how cold it gets inside with the window open but the outside temp at night is around 10-12°C.

    Also, is a rate of 1 male and 1 female per cage good, or is it better to have more males with one female or more females with one male?

    Thanks all for your replies!

    They spent just over a month in their cocoon, seems reasonable to me.

    They still haven't mated.
    I quietly sneaked in the room last night, in the dark, without turning on the light. But there was just enough light to see their silhouette. I'm pretty sure the female was calling because the male was flapping around like a madman. He seemed to have trouble finding her, he came close a few times but then bounced away again.
    This morning i found the male had lost part of a wing in the action, poor guy. Female was hanging in exactly the same position at exactly the same spot as when i left them in the evening, so i guess nothing happened.

    Airflow might be problematic. I don't have an outdoor space (no garden, no terrace). Tonight i'll put them close to the open window (didn't do that the previous nights as i thought the cage was small enough for him to find her).

    Hello all,

    Yesterday evening my first two Antheraea yamamai moths emerged! A male and a female, so that's already a good start! :smiling_face:
    But now, i placed both in a small net cage (30x30x30cm) and left them for the night.

    Is there a way to know if they have mated (they were not hooked together this morning)?
    Do they only mate during the night and in darkness?
    How do you check if they're mating? With a webcam?
    Is it true that they separate as soon as you disturb them by entering the room and turning on the light?

    And if she lays eggs, is there a way to tell if they're fertile?

    (These are all newbie questions, i know.
    I'm only familiar with raising Bombyx mori and there it is easy: they mate as soon as they can, day, night, doesn't matter! And they stay hooked together for a day or so even if you disturb them, pick them up, move them, hold them upside down, whatever.
    Egg laying is also easy, they even lay them in your hand!
    And if the eggs darken in the next couple of days after they've been laid they are fertile, easy.)

    My A. yamamai eggs overwinter outdoors in a shady spot until the end of April.
    Rain and snow are no problem.

    That's interesting!
    How about freezing temperatures? Do they survive nightfrost and occasionaly freezing temperatures during the day?

    Und vielen Dank, Helmut! I will use google translate! :grinning_squinting_face:

    So, after several years of breeding B. Mori i thought it was time for something new! Thanks to this forum i got some A. Yamamai eggs!

    I'm familiar with diapause as most B. Mori strains need it too. I've always stored eggs that needed diapause at room temperature for several months before putting them in the fridge. That way they didn't have to spend too long in the fridge. I put them in around new years and get them out as soon as the mulberry trees start to grow leaves, which is usually the beginning of may. It has always worked great that way.

    So, now i planned to do the same with the A. Yamamai eggs. So i was keeping them at room temperature. But all of a sudden one egg hatched! Yep, there was a little one wandering around, without having had it's diapause time!
    So first question: does this occasionally happen that an egg hatches without having had it's diapouse time?

    Not much i could do for the little one as nearly all trees have lost their leaves by now.

    Anyway, i popped the other eggs in the fridge right away and now they'll have to stay in there until the end of april/beginning of may.
    And now i'm concerned that that might be too long!
    How should i best store them to prevent them from drying out? Closed or open container? Put in a wet tissue? Whatever, i have no idea!

    Btw, i know it would be better to let them overwinter outdoors, but that's not an option as i don't have an outdoor space myself and the weather can switch from cold to warm to cold to warm very quickly these days.

    So any advices on giving them the best conditions in the fridge would be greatly appreciated!