Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Menage a Trois

Well there are only five occupied cocoons now - and so far my cocoons have yielded five females and twelve males; five of these males are of course very happy... and the rest very frustrated. So frustrated, in fact, that this morning I discovered that one newly-emerged female was somehow mating with two males at the same time (I did not take photos). I prized off the more disreputable-looking one and put the remaining pair in the 'ovarium'.

Here is a short clip I took a couple of days ago of a recently-emerged female attempting to dry off, and the males just starting to pay her some attention.


video

I wonder if it is usual to have such an imbalance of males and females. I know in other insect colonies this is the case, and I can see why - but I don't really see why there should be in a population of silk moths.

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3 Comments:

Blogger jem said...

I'm laughing at you judging a disruptable moth - did he have a dark glint in his eye.

This reminds me of those university colleges you hear about where the gender ratio is very imbalanced and you know some males are going to be very unlucky.

More and more like real life.

Fri Feb 13, 12:46:00 pm  
Blogger BarbaraS said...

Me too, Clare, Jem... how can you tell?

Fri Feb 13, 02:50:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Ha, Jem and Barbara - no he had mangy-looking 'fur'(in silkworm farms he wouldn't have even lasted that long).

Yes, Jem - that is an excellent analogy - I hadn't thought of that.

Fri Feb 13, 07:45:00 pm  

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