Hornworm pupa

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
If the hornworm was kept in warm conditions with long day periods, it should eclose as a moth around 3 weeks after pupation. If you kept it in cooler conditions with short day periods, it may decide to diapause--it could go weeks to months without development, waiting for seasonal cues.
 

JumpingSpiderLady

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
342
If the hornworm was kept in warm conditions with long day periods, it should eclose as a moth around 3 weeks after pupation. If you kept it in cooler conditions with short day periods, it may decide to diapause--it could go weeks to months without development, waiting for seasonal cues.
Not sure which it will be, but it's already got a good place to become fabulous!
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
I take care of a colony of Manduca sexta for a lab, and it's pretty neat watching the adults hover to feed and lay eggs. They're pretty good at avoiding obstacles if they can see them. Just keep them somewhere well-ventilated or easy to clean up--don't keep the moths inside bedrooms, for example. They're pretty loaded with scales and those can quickly become a health hazard if you breathe them in too frequently. It's not uncommon for people to develop allergic reactions to moth scales with repeated exposure! The scales will naturally fall off and get scraped away as the moths fly around and as they quickly senesce.
 

JumpingSpiderLady

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
342
I take care of a colony of Manduca sexta for a lab, and it's pretty neat watching the adults hover to feed and lay eggs. They're pretty good at avoiding obstacles if they can see them. Just keep them somewhere well-ventilated or easy to clean up--don't keep the moths inside bedrooms, for example. They're pretty loaded with scales and those can quickly become a health hazard if you breathe them in too frequently. It's not uncommon for people to develop allergic reactions to moth scales with repeated exposure! The scales will naturally fall off and get scraped away as the moths fly around and as they quickly senesce.
Thanks. It's in a netted enclosure in the living room.
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
We have to keep the adult moths in a cage within a fume hood in order to prevent the scales from getting everywhere and becoming an issue. It's amazing the volume of scales they produce once they're no longer attached and flattened on the moths. Imagine a cattail and how it disperses its seeds and you might get an idea of how quickly the scales make a mess!
 

JumpingSpiderLady

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
342
We have to keep the adult moths in a cage within a fume hood in order to prevent the scales from getting everywhere and becoming an issue. It's amazing the volume of scales they produce once they're no longer attached and flattened on the moths. Imagine a cattail and how it disperses its seeds and you might get an idea of how quickly the scales make a mess!
I appreciate you sharing that. I'll alter the habitat to keep the scales in. But what do you do for ventilation? If you have a photo, that would be fantastic.
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
Fume hoods have fans that draw air in from the back and through air filters, creating negative air pressure. It basically sucks air into the fume hood, preventing scales from drifting and blowing out into the room. It would be like if you set up a box with a filter-covered fan intake connected to the inside of the box.
 

JumpingSpiderLady

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
342
How big a concern is this, really? I only have one pupa. Won't be breeding it. The adults only live a few days from what I could find out. It's a tobacco hornworm.
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
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250
Fortunately it's not a huge concern when it's just one moth, but the dust doesn't really go anywhere unless you clean it up, so it'll stay around unless you're vacuuming with special attention to dust reservoirs such as fabric surfaces. The fact that it doesn't degrade on its own guarantees repeated exposure and the risk of developing allergies towards scale moths and the chitin found in insect exoskeletons in general. It's definitely an irritant if you get it in your eyes and respiratory system like any fine particulate. The fume hood isn't necessary in your case since there's not a high scale load, but it's an absolute necessity when the lab colony has as many as fifty or more moths at a time.
 

JumpingSpiderLady

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
342
Fortunately it's not a huge concern when it's just one moth, but the dust doesn't really go anywhere unless you clean it up, so it'll stay around unless you're vacuuming with special attention to dust reservoirs such as fabric surfaces. The fact that it doesn't degrade on its own guarantees repeated exposure and the risk of developing allergies towards scale moths and the chitin found in insect exoskeletons in general. It's definitely an irritant if you get it in your eyes and respiratory system like any fine particulate. The fume hood isn't necessary in your case since there's not a high scale load, but it's an absolute necessity when the lab colony has as many as fifty or more moths at a time.
Thanks! I have put some cling wrap around its enclosure to try to get most of the scales to just fall downward. (Hopefully) and we'll obsessively vacuum for a while too. Would you mind to confirm for me whether they are short lived as adults? Thanks for your help!
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
Here's a video I took of a female ovipositing on a tobacco leaf we provide. Like many lepidopterans, they will search for the chemical cues indicating a potential host plant with their sensitive antennae, "taste" with their forelegs, and then oviposit if it has the right chemical signatures indicating that it would be a good plant for their offspring to feed and grow on.



The adults and any pupae close to eclosion are kept in this wooden box about two feet wide and deep and three feet tall with plexiglass on one side for viewing. Adjacent to the plexiglass on another side is a door with metal mesh for ventilation. The whole thing is stuck inside a fume hood. The plexiglass side faces out and the door opens to the side. This was taken just before I took it for a nice, thorough cleaning. You can see very thick layers of dry meconium, the waste released after they emerge from their pupae.

Don't be alarmed when your moth emerges and sprays meconium everywhere. It might smell faintly musty, but it won't cause any issues if you get it on yourself. It dries into a powder and washes out easily with water and does not stain.
 

NenaColada

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 25, 2018
Messages
4
Any tips here on getting the worms to pupate? I recently got a handful and they're getting pretty big and they're still eating, but I'm not sure when would be a good time to offer them soil to burrow in. How can I tell when they're ready?
Also.. The smell.. Omg.
 
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