Samia ricini is back! From the egg to spinning fibers
Samia ricini, the Eri silk moth, is a all year-round Saturniidae species, which is common to found amongst breeders in captivity. The great advantage of this species is that can be kept continuously as is does not have a stage which undergo diapause. Additionally, the Eri silk moth is a very easy species to rear. Caterpillars behave as gregarious until the last instars and don’t need special requirements and attention, just a clean environment and enough food to grow healty.
After the cocoons has been spun by the 5th instar caterpillar, it takes about 4 weeks for the adult to emerge. Cocoons of Samia ricini can be easily kept in the bottom of a mesh cage, when the adult moth will emerge it will climb alone to correctly spread its wings. Although not necessary, cocoons can be sprayed sometimes with water to keep them slightly humid.
The caterpillars of the Eri silk moth, hatch after 11-14 days of development inside the egg. The caterpillars phase, which is called post-embryo development, last from 4 to 6 weeks depending on temperature and the host plant selected. Samia ricini, as its name suggests, do amazing on Ricinus communis, a plant which is wide spread in southern europe, as it suffers cold climates. Other hosts as Ligustrum, Liquidambar, Prunus, Citrus can be tried and will give raise to fertile adults, but smaller in size compared to their main host. You can find more images and description of the species HERE on WIKI.
We are currently rearing many different strains of Samia ricini, in order to describe and study them. The most know amongst breeders is the so called ZEBRA line, which shows a peculiar pattern in larvae skin color. During a recent study, we found out that the ZEBRA phenotype seems linked to a dominant mutation and behaves almost perfectly mendelian!
The Eri silk moth, a valuable species for spinning fibers
Normally, Lepidoptera breeders do not consider empty cocoons as a valuable resource for spinning and craft art in general. Moth cocoons are normally just thrown away after adult emergence. Sadly, we did so for a while too until recently, after being in contact with our friend Ellen Hengeveld from the Netherlands. She showed us how amateur Lepidoptera breeding can meet homemade spinning.
Samia ricini is a Saturniidae species which produces a valuable pure white silk, ideal for spinning. You can rear your own caterpillars to produce these amazing fibers.
Cocoons, after the adult has emerged, need to be processed in order to obtain the silk fibers, in a way that they are usable for spinning. First of all, the pupal case needs to be removed from the inside of the Eri silk moth cocoon. Afterwards, cocoons need to be boiled for about 2 hours with soap, in order to degum them and allow the fibers to be distended.
We sell Cruelty Free Silk, what does it mean?
Our animals have hatched from the cocoons, they weren’t killed after the productions but paired to give raise to new offspring. All animals are reared in our facilities-You will find the empty pupae inside the cocoon, this is the clear sign the the adult has properly hatched. Some cocoons might be little dirty because of meconium, which is the earliest stool of the adult after emergence. Do not worry, meconium is easily cleaned with water. Some of the cocoons may also be cut opened but, according to our tests, this is still good for spinning fibers.
We accept customs orders, in case you want to purchase different weights or you have specific requests. For any question or doubt do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]