Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When one door closes...

I was very bummed about the failure of my A. pernyi colony. However, I got a nice surprise on Sunday when I realized that I have a mulberry tree in my yard that I didn't know about. There is an area in our side yard that we hadn't trimmed in about five years. Sunday I was doing yard work and I discovered this little tree. I'm sure that the people who owned the house before us had been cutting it down, but since mulberry trees grow like weeds it has come back to life. It only has one trunk, and it's still a very immature tree with the trunk being about 3 inches in diameter, but it's leafing nicely and looks very healthy. I think it's about 6 feet tall.

Since it's in the middle of a bunch of other trees I'm going to trim all the other trees back so that my little mulberry can get more sun and have more room to grow. It's also very close to our neighbor's property, and he's very good about trimming his trees so I have to tell him not to touch the mulberry even if it hang over into his yard. I need all the leaves I can get from it.

I hope it fruits!


Monday, May 4, 2009

It's over

I'm been resisting posting this because it's sad for me. Out of 11 cocoons I had five males and six females which resulted in no matings. I have one lonely female left alive, and she is just hanging around waiting to die. Somehow the death of the moth is not as sad if they have mated because then it seems like they have fulfilled their purpose in life.

Before most of the moths died I contacted a moth expert from Canada and he made several very good suggestions. I even tried hand-pairing the moths, which is where you hold the moth's butts together and sort of force the issue if they are reluctant. That didn't even work. When none of the suggestions worked he concluded that my moths were probably too closely related to mate. Many species has a built in mechanism that prevents them from mating with siblings or even close cousins. It's good for the gene pool, but not for a small breeder. The B. mori don't have a problem inbreeding, but inbreeding can cause other issues like sudden death of the worms or disease.

So, my project has totally stalled out. For the next few months I will be unable to raise A. pernyi, but I can raise some B. mori. In a few weeks I will order 200 eggs or so and give those another try. I had no issues with raising them last time, so I anticipate much better success. I will try and get more A. pernyi later this summer and try to raise a late summer generation.

Labels: ,