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Published on Nov 12, 2007
This short documentary, shot in Santa Clarita and Juniper Hills, CA during, 2007, shows how the rare and difficult to rear White-Streaked Silkmoths (Saturnia albofasciata) can be mated in captivity, both hand-paired and un-assisted. In order to study and document this (and other species) in great detail, multiple generations must be reared in the lab/studio over the course of several years.
Some Saturniidae species manage to mate easily in captivity, but albofasciata in particular has difficulty in an indoor environment, and so hand pairing usually becomes necessary to ensure a new batch of fertile eggs for the next season.
While the hand-pairing method might seem "forced" or otherwise unfair to the female, in reality she controls the situation by releasing a scent (pheromone) which tells the male where she is and that she's ready to mate. She only releases her pheromone under certain conditions for a short time each day. Without it, the male does not know she exists and won't try to couple with her - even when held right against her. Since this species doesn't eat as adults, it's critical that she finds a mate as soon as possible after emerging. She only has a few days in which to mate and lay all 60 - 120 of her eggs before she runs out of stored energy and dies. Hopefully this info will make the methods used in this study seem a little more reasonable =)
The soundtrack is "Jolly People" from the "Digital Dreaming" CD by Technician (yours truly), album and single track available on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/digi... full artist discography and CDs available at HTTP://technician.jcmdi.com
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