Samia cynthia - Ailanthus Silkmoth
Family Saturniidae, Subfamily:  Saturniinae
Attacini -
Hodges # 7759

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#4 Purged liquid 25 September at 3:30 P.M.
The first threads silked to the leaf after silking the entire stem
Photo at 5:55 P.M. 25 September 2013


#4 - The leaf is  silked on the inside and the caterpillar is tying the two sides together - 7:46 P.M.

#4 - Spinning, spinning spinning -  7:48 P.M.

#2 Purged at 4:30 P.M. 25 September 2013 and started silking soon after
This is the cocoon at 7:50 P.M.
You can see how the caterpillar is threading the two sides of the leaf together.


#3 Purged at 7 A. M. 26 September 2013
By 7:56A.M. the leaf is completely silked

#3 Purged at 7 A. M. 26 September 2013

At 7:58 A.M. More silking the leaf to the stem so it
won't fall off after it dries


Photo Details - ©Nicky Davis
Ova received from John Richards who received them from Greg Houtz, Schuy Hill Haven, Pa.  They are probably a non-native captive hand reared moth.  However, there are reports that this moth still exists in the wild in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Prince Edward Island and Missouri .The Missouri report of Cocoons found January 1, 1978 was  verified March 05, 2009. It was first introduced to the U.S.A. along with the host plant 
Ailanthus altissima - Tree of Heaven in the 1800's.   The Tree of Heaven has been banned in some states and is listed as noxious in 46 states.

These I rear won't be released into the wild.  Any  species I rear so I can get  life history photos are released only in the spot where the female was located.  If that is not possible, they are not released.

Oviposited  19 August 2013 - Ten days as ova

Emerged 29 August 2013 - 5 mm long
Molted to Second Instars on 2 September 2013
(4 days as  1st Instar)
Molted to Third Instars on  6-7 September 2013 (5 days as 2nd Instar)
Molted to Fourth Instars on 10-11 September 2013 (4 days as 3rd Instar)
Molted to Fifth Instars on  16-17 September 2013 (6 days as 4th Instar)
#4 purged liquid 3:30 P.M.  25 September  (9 days as 5th Instar)
#2 purged liquid at  4:30 P.M. 25 September (9 days as 5th Instar)
#3 purged liquid at  7:00 A.M.  26 September (9 days as 5th Instar)
#1 purged liquid  in the afternoon of 26 September (9 days as 5th instar)

After purging the excess liquid they rested a while then began going up to the top of their individual plants looking for a good place to start cocoons.   Then they each began silking to the plant.  They silked a leaf to the plant to anchor it better so it wouldn't fall from the tree. They all spent a great deal of time anchoring this main leaf to the stem.   Some silked the stem clear to the top.  After this one leaf was anchored, they each  silked the entire leaf surface.  This is the leaf that ends up being silked around their bodies. Then they each started silking the two sides together which pulls the leaf around them.

After all of these had formed cocoons and pupated, they were placed in hibernation.  They were placed in the crisper of a fridge at 41 F.

Host Plants
Lilac is a suggested host plant but these would not use it.
Tree of Heaven - Ailanthus altissima

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