This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
Here are a few and short notes from my book:
1st stage. Larvæ, about one-third of an inch; head, brown, shiny, and globulous.
2d stage. Larvæ, dark-brown, almost black; spines, white at the base, and black at the extremities; head shiny and light brown.
3d stage. Larve, fine black; head black; white hairs on the back; spines, whitish, buff, or yellowish at the base, and black at the extremities; other larvæ of a brown color.
4th stage. Larvæ, black granulated with white; long white hairs; horns, brown-orange with white tips; on each segment two brown spots. Spiracles well marked with outer circle, brown, then black; white and black dot in the center. Anal segment with brown ribs, the intervals black with white dots; head shining, black with two brown bands on the face, forming a triangle. Other larvæ in fourth stage, velvety black, with coral-red spines; others with black spines.
5th stage. Larvæ, entirely black, with showy eye-like spiracles, polished black head; other larvæ having the head brown and black. Larvæ covered with long white hair; spines black or red. No difference noticed between the fifth and sixth stages.
One larva on fourth stage was different from all others, and was described at the British Museum by Mr. W. F. Kirby as follows: "Larva reddish-brown, sparingly clothed with long slender white hairs, with four reddish stripes on the face, two rows of red spots on the back, spiracles surrounded with yellow, black and red rings; legs red, prolegs black, spotted with red. On segments three and four are four long coral-red fleshy-branched spines, two on each segment, below which, on each side, are two rudimentary ones just behind the head; in front of segment two are four similar rudimentary orange spines or tubercles; last segment black, strongly granulated and edges triangularly above and at the sides, with coral-red; several short rudimentary fleshy spines rising from the red portion; the last segment but one is reddish above, with a short red spine in the middle, and the one before it has a long coral-red spine in the middle similar to those of segments three and four, but shorter"
As soon as my Imperialis larvæ had hatched, I gave them various kinds of foliage, plane-tree, oak, pine, sallow, etc. At first they did not touch any kind of foliage, or they did not seem to touch any; and I was afraid I should be unable to rear them; but on the second or third day of their existence, they made up their minds and decided upon eating the foliage of some of the European trees I had offered them. They attacked oak, sallow, and pine, but did not touch the plane-tree leaves. In America, the larvæ of Imperialis feed on button-wood, which is the American plane-tree (Platanus occidentalis), yet they did not take to Platanus orientalis. After a little time I reduced the foliage to oak and sallow branches, and ultimately gave them the sallow (Salix caprea) only, on which they thrived very well. I was pleased with this success; as I had previously read in a volume of the "Naturalist's Library" a description of Ceratocampa imperialis, which ends as follows: "The caterpillars are not common, and are the most difficult to bring to perfection in confinement, as they will not eat in that situation; and, even if they change into a chrysalis, they die afterward."
Before I finish with C. imperialis, I must mention a peculiar fact. During the first stage, and, I think, also during the second, several larvæ disappeared without leaving any traces. I also saw two smaller larvæ held tight by the hind claspers of two larger ones. The larvæ thus held and pressed were perfectly dead when I observed them, and I removed them. My impression then was that these larvae were carnivorous, not from this last fact alone, as I had previously observed it with larvæ of Catocalæ when they are too crowded, but from the fact that some had disappeared entirely from the glass under which they were confined. I began to reduce their numbers, and put six only under each glass, so as to be able to watch them better. Whether I had made a mistake or not previously to this I do not exactly know; but from this moment the larvae behaved in a most exemplary manner, especially when they became larger. They crawled over each other's backs without the least sign of spite or animosity, even when they were in sleep, in which case larvæ are generally very sensitive and irritable, all were of a most pacific nature. It is, therefore, with the greatest pleasure that, for want of sufficient evidence, I withdraw this serious charge of cannibalism which I first intended to bring against them.
From what has been said respecting the rearing of exotic silk-producing bombyces, especially tropical species, it must have been observed that several difficulties, standing in the way of success, have to be overcome. The moths of North American species emerge regularly enough during the months of May, June, or July, but Indian and other tropical species may emerge at any time of the year, if the weather is mild, as has been the case during this unusually mild winter of 1881-1882. From the end of December to the present time (March 14, 1882) moths of four species of Indian silk-producers, especially Antheræa roylei and Actias selene, have constantly emerged, but only one or two at a time. These moths emerged from cocoons received in December and January last.
It is only when these tropical species shall have been already reared in Europe that the emergence of the moths will be regular; then they will be single-brooded in Northern or Central Europe, and some will very likely become double-brooded in Southern Europe. But when just imported the moths of these tropical species will always be uncertain and irregular in their emergence; hence the importance of having a sufficient number of cocoons so as to meet this difficulty, i.e., the loss of the moths that emerge prematurely or irregularly.
Before I conclude, I shall repeat what I already stated in a previous report, that the sending of live cocoons and pupæ from India and other distant countries to Europe, can easily be done, so that they will arrive alive and in good condition, if care be taken that the boxes containing these live cocoons and pupæ should not be left in the sun or near a fire (which has been the case before), and that they should at once be put in a cool place or in the ice-room of the steamer. The cocoons and pupæ should be sent from October to March or April, according to distance, and it is most important to write on the cases, "Living silkworm cocoons or pupæ, the case to be placed in the ice room."
By taking this simple precaution, live cocoons and pupæ, when newly formed, can be safely sent from very distant countries of Europe.
To continue these interesting and useful studies, I shall always be glad to buy any number of live cocoons, or exchange them for other species, if preferable.
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