Saturnia walterorum rearing notes

I've taken a hiatus from posting recently due to laziness. I figured I'd get back and provide my records and insights in rearing a batch of Saturnia walterorum larvae.

Here's a quick timeline with the rearing conditions:

March 29, 2022, 6:30 PM: 15 larvae sourced from San Diego, CA, emerged. I put them in a 6x3x3 plastic tupperware container with a paper towel at the bottom. I cut most of the plastic lid out and glued on a patch of netting on top of it so that the larvae had plenty of ventilation. They were supplied with some baby leaves of arbutus unedo (strawberry tree), which they accepted the next day. They have been kept around room temperature (68-75*F) with no added humidity and their leaves are replaced daily.

L1 and L2 larvae

fast forward...

April 26, 2022: I went on vacation spring break so I didn't get to monitor them closely. It's been two weeks since I returned and nothing terribly noteworthy has occurred. 8 larvae died while being babysat; 7 larvae now remain. The larvae are now 3rd instars. The largest is exactly an inch in length while most are 2 centimeters long. They have developed noticeable red tubercles that are largest at the thorax and possess long, wispy setae that were not present in L1. They are morphologically variable; displaying black lateral abdominal bands and ranging in color from orange, red, yellow, to slightly green. They seem to do well with good ventilation and low humidity.

L3, L4? larvae

April 27, 2022: I woke up this morning and found one of the larvae was diseased. Last night they had started wandering around, which I took as a sign of stress due to their increased size and thus, perceived overcrowding but decided to put off changing their enclosure to the following day, which was obviously a stupid mistake. I executed a hasty quarantine procedure and managed to separate the remaining 6 larvae into tiny individual enclosures as I got ready this morning. I'm still apprehensive about them because these issues usually are best avoided preventatively, not remedially.

April 28, 2022: I seem to have gotten lucky. None of the 6 larvae display signs of disease and are safely confined to their individual containers. 3 larvae entered apolysis for L4 today. Temperature ranges from 68-72F.

April 29, 2022: 2 L3 larvae remain in apolysis. One ecdysed into L4, displaying brighter green coloration than the other L4 larva, which is still partially yellow. The older L4 larva was lethargic this morning, so I suspect it may be diseased. Temperature: 70-75F.

Posted on אפריל 27, 2022 09:18 אחה"צ by crake crake


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