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Old 05-12-2008, 12:04 AM   #1
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My silkworms have hatched!!

Ok, this may sound crazy to some of you, but ever since I was in kindergarten, I have raised silkworms as a fun summer project. As a kid, we did genetic experiments on them, and generally learned a lot about how they react to certain stimuli. However, when I grew up and moved to Missouri, I have had dreams of re-starting what I did as a kid. The last two years have been tragic, and I ended up killing both sets of baby worms. This year, I am trying again, and several of the baby worms hatched today! The eggs are literally the size of a pin head, and in 4 weeks, eating only mulberry leaves, they grow to the size of my index finger. Here is a pic of 2 of the baby worms on a leaf. I will post more pics as they get bigger.
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Old 05-12-2008, 01:26 AM   #2
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What sorts of experiments did you do?
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:08 AM   #3
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Well, the worms have dark spots on them, and some are darker than others. So, over the course of about 3 or 4 years, we did selective breeding, and segregated the lighter ones from the darker ones until we had pure white worms. Unfortunately, this lead to birth defects! Many of the worms ended up missing half-segments, making them look like they were always walking in circles.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:50 AM   #4
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Oh, I thought I would also mention - yes, silkworms are where silk comes from. The stuff they make colorful Kimonos and silk ties and skirts out of comes out of the mouths of caterpillars. I have never really harvested the silk, because it's such a tedious process, but each worm spins a cocoon around itself with one continuous strand about 3 miles long. That cocoon can be boiled (killing the worm inside) and the silk lets go of itself, allowing us to harvest it.
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Old 05-15-2008, 04:20 PM   #5
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Just thought I'd post an updated picture. There are now 10 worms. 2 more hatched today, and I have 3 more unhatched eggs. Not all will hatch, but I might have more than 10 in the next day or so. They sure grow fast!
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Old 05-15-2008, 04:27 PM   #6
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That's pretty cool! Congrats!
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:34 PM   #7
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Congratulations on becoming a daddy! I've heard about silkworms and that the mating process is pretty messy. Ahhh, mother nature.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:26 PM   #8
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Well, it's been a while since I posted an update on the worms. They have now finished being worms, and are starting to emerge from their cocoons! Here are a few pics. The first 3 are of the worms before they went to cocoon, and the last one was taken this morning, as moths. It will be a few days before all of the moths emerge though.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:29 PM   #9
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Pretty neat!
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:47 PM   #10
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Where do you get the mulberry leaves? They have to be fresh?
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