Ecdysis: the third skins

The silkworms are changing skins again!

Waiting for the skin to split…

Here, you can see a worm that has just shed its second skin. Note that the head is large and gray; it will darken over the next few hours. You can see the shed skin behind it – the worms attach their claspers to the surface, and just wiggle forward out of the skin to shed it.

Here, you can see the shed skin more clearly.

In this shot, you can see the second-instar face hanging from the jaws of the third-instar face. The faces pop off like masks.

For scale. The worms are getting bigger by the day.

And today, I split them into two trays. The ideal is to have 1/3 of the surface space of the leaves occupied by worms; when they get large enough that they don’t have room to turn around comfortably, it’s time for a bigger tray. Fortunately, these deli trays stack on top of one another, so the extra space just means more height. Feeding time is a bit of a juggling act, and the trays end up spread out across the cabinet, but they store quite neatly between feedings.

3 replies
  1. admin
    admin says:

    Hee. I bet if some scientist could figure out how people could pop their faces off like that and have a fresh new one, he’d make a mint…

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