Silkworm Update 4

Soon after my last update the first of the silkworms started to show signs of wanting to spin a cocoon.

Growm worms ready to pupate

  I had prepared an insect rearing cage for them, and placed the plastic boxes containing the larvae into the cage and added some ‘mountages’, in this case some twigs of cherry and apple.

The silkworm cage ready for mounting and pupation

  I hoped that the silkworms would like to climb these and spin their cocoons away from the leaves and detritus in the containers.

A silkworm starting to spin its 'bave'. This is a loose weaving of silk fibres used to make a rough cage in which the cocoon is formed. It does not form part of the cocoon.

Well, it sort of worked.  Some larvae did mount the sticks, but most then climbed up the inside of the cage and pupated in the corners of the cage, at least they were out of the containers.  Many, however, did not bother to move and pupated close to the ground, in their containers.  As the density of larvae was not high, they were not too crowded and all the larvae that survived (again many died during pupation) managed to find somewhere to pupate.  There is obviously a lot of experience necessary to produce good mountages for these larvae.

 

Silkworms starting to form their cocoon inside the bave, morning.

 

By afternoon the worms were well on the way to producing their cocoons.

 

By the following morning the cocoons were fully formed

 

Interestingly, all but one of the cocoons was yellow.  I’m not sure why this was, was this due to the variety of silkworms, or the food that they were fed upon?

After a week, many of the silkworms had pupated, all around the cage.

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