Herding Cats

The Eri babies are doing well. They are quite a bit different from the Bombyx cats, which is making them intriguing and also challenging.

The herding instinct is the funniest part. They want to be in a group. If one is stuck off by itself far from the comfort of the others, it will tend not to eat; of course, over the long run, failure to eat is a big problem.

They have been hatching out for the past three days, so there are cats of different ages here by a day or two. You can tell that a couple are bigger, but you have to really look.

They don’t eat nearly as much as the Bombyx cats, but they do definitely make a dent in the leaves. The little caterpillar munching on the left-hand edge of the leaf made that hole in about five minutes of concerted effort. They seem to eat in bursts, whereas the Bombyx cats are more steady munchers.

13 replies
  1. admin
    admin says:

    They’ll end up about the size of my index finger, give or take. They’re fairly substantial, for caterpillars… probably not quite riding size, though.

  2. sandthistle
    sandthistle says:

    The doting goddessmother chimes in…

    …awww… They’re so SWEET! Next time can you include something for scale? A leaf is not a leaf is not a leaf… 🙂

    *dote* *dote* Hi little buggies!!

    *grin* Goin’ good, Oakenking, goin’ good…

  3. admin
    admin says:

    Re: The doting goddessmother chimes in…


    You can also see the little holes they chew in the sides of the leaves…

    There are 24 of them now, and I’m not sure if more will hatch before I go to bed, or not… there are several more that are going to hatch tonight or tomorrow, then still dozens that clearly have a way to go.

  4. admin
    admin says:

    The white dots are actually just flash reflections on their exceptionally shiny black heads.

    From what I understand, their actual eyes are very tiny; I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even be visible at this resolution. It seems like the heads are “bug eyes” like with a dragonfly, but they’re not.

  5. admin
    admin says:

    I haven’t raised this species before, but I understand that it’s 4 – 6 weeks from eggs to moth. Each caterpillar will make one silk cocoon; I honestly don’t know a number with this type of cocoon to give you an estimate. With the bombyx cocoons (which have much more silk per piece) it takes 300 – 1000 to make a shirt. These will have to be spun, not reeled, because of the way the Eri caterpillar spins its cocoon.

  6. admin
    admin says:

    Re: The doting goddessmother chimes in…

    And they’re about twice the size, maybe not quite, of the Bombyx babies. More on them in a few weeks when the mulberry is in leaf!

  7. retro_girl69
    retro_girl69 says:

    You must post pictures after a few instars. I am curious to see if their appearance will change much. They are cute little “bug-gers”.

    I sit at work with a Monarch Chrysallis which should eclose any moment now. I loves me some bugs. 🙂


  8. admin
    admin says:

    I’m not sure if these will be the blue-green, or the white… but the change should be dramatic between first and second instars. Hopefully, this will occur early next week.

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