Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eri Silk Assam 2

Assam: Land of the Golden Silk - Part 6
(Our 2008 visit to Assam in search of three types of silk.)



We've been lucky in Assam. Chandan has found us a number of locations where the Eri moth is in different stages of its development. This has all been arranged by him, but as we pull into a compound or drive down a village street, we have no idea what we are going to find. Previously we encountered the eggs - just at the point of hatching. Now we've been shown the caterpillars in their final stages as they are about to spin. The worms pictured here are happily munching on a collection of castor leaves. Some of them have a faint blue tint. We're guessing that the colour difference is between male and female. For full details of the Eri lifecycle we recommend Michael Cook's well illustrated photo essay.

These worms were kept in the most simple conditions. A woven basket held an inverted collection of branches tied together at the stem. It made a substantial collection of food that would last a few days.

And finally we saw the adults. The one shown at the top of the post has been out of the cocoon about twenty-four hours. These moths (like all moths) generally don't live long in the adult stage, only a few days. As adults their sole drive is to emerge from the cocoon, mate and lay eggs.




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