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March 16th, 2016

Calleta hatchlings

The Calleta caterpillars (Eupackardia calleta) started hatching today. These beautiful moths are native to much of the American southwest. I am raising them mostly for the fun of it – they do produce silk, but it’s not one I’ve made into yarn yet.

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This tiny hatchling is eating cenizo – Leucophyllum frutescens – which many of my gardening friends call purple sage. Not related to the Salvia sages at all.

The caterpillars are covered with tiny bristles called scoli; these aren’t spiky to the touch for a person, but they would be get in the way if you were, say, a spider trying to put the bite on a caterpillar.

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The insides of the hatched eggshells are beautiful – like rosy opals. The colors remind me of Maxfield Parrish.

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Originally published at WormSpit. You can comment here or there.

Am I blue…. ?

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These silkworm eggs are starting to turn “blue” – the developing worm inside separates from the shell, and they get a hazy lighter color. About half the eggs in this photo are blue – the others are likely nonviable.

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If you look really close, and you’ve got a good magnification on your camera or hand lens, you can see the caterpillar curled inside the egg.

 

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These have reached the head pigmentation stage; you can see the little dark heads. They’ll hatch within another day or two.

 

Originally published at WormSpit. You can comment here or there.

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