polyphemus in CT

JH jhimmel at connix.com
Thu Sep 6 16:11:17 EDT 2001

A few people emailed me suggesting artificial light as the culprit for the
"polyphemi" early emergence.  The larvae were reared indoors, but by an open
window under natural light.  It was in a corner of the room that doesn't
receive a lot of light at night - some ambient light would reach them, but
not so much as to make a big difference.  It will be interesting to see if
more come out this evening.  I had given one to a friend about a week ago.
He hadn't gotten around to preparing for its overwintering it either.
Shocked the living @#$!! out of him when it emerged and flew into his head
while he was watching TV in the livingroom last night!
John Himmelman
Killingworth, CT USA
jhimmel at connix.com
Visit my websites at:
-----Original Message-----
From: Martha Rosett Lutz <lutzrun at AVALON.NET>
To: leps-l at lists.yale.edu <leps-l at lists.yale.edu>
Date: Thursday, September 06, 2001 12:03 PM
Subject: Re: polyphemus in CT

>John Himmelman wrote:
>"I had reared out some Antheraea polyphemus from some eggs laid by a female
>I found in early July.  I fed them chestnut and chestnut oak.  They went
>into cocoon at various times ranging from early to late August.  So far,
>four of them have eclosed over the last two days!  I never even had a
>chance to get them out to their cocoonery to overwinter!  In CT, it would
>be expected that they wouldn't eclose until late next spring.
>Any idea of what may have caused their accelerated their development?"
>Were they reared indoors, under artificial light?  I can 'force'
>multivoltine Saturniids to go through 'extra' generations by rearing the
>larvae under long day-lengths using artificial light.  The only univoltine
>species I have worked with is H. cecropia, and no matter what I do I only
>get one generation per year.  But I can start (i.e. cause adults to emerge,
>mate, and lay eggs) lunas or other multivoltine species in early March and
>keep them going until November (this is part of a project related to taking
>these pretty moths into grade schools for the kids to work with--not just a
>mindless attempt to mess up the moths).
>If your larvae were outdoors and/or under natural light conditions . . .
>maybe just pioneers, seeing if they can get away with one more generation!
>In Stride,
>Martha Rosett Lutz
>P.S.  A. polyphemus larvae will eat--and may thrive on--autumn leaves, even
>ones that are changing color, as long as the leaves are well hydrated and
>the insects are kept warm.
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