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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:57 pm 
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Matt : according to Paul - who found the info in a paper somewhere - it is possible to grow them up in 6 months. As we are going on holiday at the end of March, I am hoping to be on target. However, I still haven't been able to find out if they have 5 or 6 instars. I think it must be 5, but if it is 6, things might get tricky...

I bought another new swede last week and started the larva on a chunk of that yesterday. Masses of frass this morning, so it does look as if moist, crisp, food is preferred over dry and leathery. Mind you, I don't think all the frass can be larval waste matter and is probably the result of the larva chewing a tunnel - on first starting to burrow, quite a bit of the frass is mixed with silk, so it would be coming from the front end, rather than the rear!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:45 pm 
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Goat moulted again today, so they do have 6 instars - I have kept a diary and noted down each moult (skin and old head found every time, so no doubts whatsoever). Time between L5 and L6 was 31 days, so it looks as though we shall be away when it wants to pupate. I shall make sure it has enough swede to last the course and will just have to hope it can manage without my TLC!

Update 06.03.17 : Larva still active. It is approx. 170 days old now, depending on how old it was when I got it.


Last edited by Trik on Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:14 pm 
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Now between 4.0 - 4.5 cm long and looking chunkier.
Attachment:
goat moth L6.jpg
goat moth L6.jpg [ 143.78 KiB | Viewed 642 times ]


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:38 pm 
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Nice. I'm going to have to try these again. I think nest time I'll give them much bigger lumps of swede.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:22 pm 
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The problem with large chunks of swede is that it becomes difficult to change it unless it is completely soft and rotting, which I don't think is a good idea. As I mentioned way back, you daren't cut it with a knife just in case the larva is nearby, so you have to tear it apart with your fingers. It might be easy for you, Matt, but with the arthritis in my fingers and thumbs, I struggle! I have been using swede quarters since L4, but now that the larva is bigger, I've moved up to halves - they are standard-sized swedes from the supermarket, so not huge. Also, I used to use an apple corer to start a hole for it, but I changed to a sharp drill bit (I found a wood bit was best) of an appropriate larva-size. It is easy to turn with my fingers and makes a nice, clean, deep tunnel for it to settle into.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:31 pm 
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We went on holiday 12 days ago and I set the larva up with a whole swede, drilled and cut into 3 slices, which I held together with rubber bands and then placed on a deep layer of substrate. As soon as we arrived home last night, I checked the larva and, to my surprise, found that it hadn't pupated but must have moulted again, because there was another old head in a side chamber (there wasn't much frass this morning so maybe the moult was recent). So, it is now L7 and I am very relieved that it managed to survive my absence! I will try for another photo when I change the swede again soon.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:20 pm 
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Sounds good.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 5:01 pm 
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Still not pupated, but eating well at the moment and getting fatter.


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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 1:28 pm 
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Does it smell "goaty" yet?


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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 3:33 pm 
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Unfortunately, the swede is smelling at the moment - well, I think it's the swede - so I cannot tell. I wanted to change it today, but when I opened it up, I saw that the larva had spun a light web around itself, so I didn't disturb it. It may be moulting again (to L8) but I shall know in about 3 days when it should start eating again. If there are no signs of renewed activity, then it has either died :( or is pupating. If it is pupating at last, then I shall have to leave it for about 2 weeks, but the swede is going to become pretty rotten by then, so that's a bit of a worry.

16.05.17 - day 238 - update:
Well, I had no choice but to change the swede, as it became so noxious. I drilled a tunnel in a fresh one, cut it in half and then scooped out a large enough hollow at the end of the tunnel to fit the larva. It was still moving about, but not so lively as in the past. No frass was produced for 5 days and a web has now been spun over the far end of the tunnel. It seems likely that it is pupating, but inside the swede!! In the old swede, the chamber it had chewed wasn't very close to the rind of the veg, so I don't know how the imago would have effected an escape when it hatched, although it could have used an old tunnel, I suppose. However, my new set-up will allow me to open the swede and extract the pupa if/when it is formed in due course. Wish me luck, please!


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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 3:46 pm 
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Well, the larva has fooled me again and it has moulted to L8 rather than pupated! In my defence, it was a much longer moult than any previous ones, but I think the silk seal it had made over the tunnel prevented me from seeing when frass started to be produced again and it was only this morning that some had at last been pushed clear. On opening the swede, I found that there was quite a lot of debris (including the old head) packed into the hollow I had made, although not so much to make me think that it has been eating for more than a few days - unless its appetite is less now.

I wish someone could tell me how many instars these aggravating little beasts have!


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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 4:10 pm 
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Attachment:
goat moth L8.jpg
goat moth L8.jpg [ 145.4 KiB | Viewed 465 times ]

L8 and looking darker, fatter and bigger - about 6 cm.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:40 pm 
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MATT! Devon Butterflies are advertising Goat Moth larvae, available now.

My larva has still not pupated.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:00 pm 
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Moulted to L9 the other day. It's getting to be quite a bruiser and savaged the paintbrush when I tried to clean some sticky gunge off its head! I am stocking up on swedes in case the supply dries up before the larva pupates. Surely it can't be long now before it does... :roll:


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:30 pm 
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Moulted to L10 last night - much quicker than the last instar. Same procedure as before : 3 days not eating, moult, then approx 3 days to recover, so no frass just yet.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:52 pm 
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Moulted to L11. I didn't find the old head as proof-positive this time, but I'm confident, as its behaviour was identical to all other moults.

Now that we are nearly into September, I am wondering if it will go into hibernation rather than pupate this year. Keeping it at a constant, warm, temperature may prevent hibernation as such, but they may naturally hibernate/diapause when they reach a certain point in their growth....

The whole point of this exercise was to enable me to see and photograph an imago. However, a few weeks ago a friend had a female hatch successfully, and I got some good shots of this attractive moth. Still, a larva's for life, not just for Christmas! :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:49 pm 
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Great thread Trik, interested to see how big the larvae will get and how big the adult will be...apparently they can live for years as larvae if they're in dead wood trunks - I imagine turnips are a quicker alternative but even so, don't hold your breath!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:23 pm 
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Hello Will!
My larva is over 7 cm now, although it is difficult to measure as it is like a concertina as it moves along. On swede, I had hoped to reach pupation stage within 1 year, but - c.25 swedes later - this has nearly passed. It is unlikely to take the 3 - 4 years that they do in the wild, though - I hope. Incidentally, they are not like beetle larvae, as they eat living wood, as shown by the sap runs that they create in their host tree. It has occurred to me that that may be the reason why they take so long to grow, as their host trees are deciduous and in the winter the sap will have gone down to the roots, and no sap = no sugars. This may also explain why they hibernate. This is just my thinking, as I have yet to read any in-depth articles about this species. Indeed, I think I may be one of the few people who have been able and willing to monitor a larva so closely and find out that they have (at least) 11 instars!

If all goes well and I eventually get a moth to hatch successfully, I shall be adding a page to my website, detailing my observations, but rearing Goat Moth larvae is not an exercise that I would be prepared to repeat. Although, I wonder how they would do feeding on sugar beet....


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:18 pm 
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A chunky chap! That's really interest keep it up, this is a great source of info, shall be keeping an eye on the progress :)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:32 pm 
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The larva (still L11) came out of the swede 10 days ago and burrowed into the substrate - presumably to hibernate. It has created a cell against the side of the vivarium, so I can see all the silk threads, but not, unfortunately, the larva.

Now, as I understand that Bugnation will be going down for good during December, I have uploaded my ongoing Larva Saga to my website and will update it when necessary. This probably won't be until next Spring when, hopefully, the larva will pupate. If anything new happens meanwhile, I'll post here as well, but once Bugnation goes, if anyone wishes to read the next instalment, they can visit www.trikimages.co.uk/GoatMoth.html .

Trik


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