The Bombyx eri is a caterpillar giving a night butterfly also called Philosamia ricini.It is cousin with the silkworm (Bombyx mori). It can be found in many places around the world including India, Japan, Australia, Brasil, Canada, France, Spain ou Bulgaria. Il is used as very high quality feed for insect-eating animals to complete a food based on silkworm, cricket or cockroach.

Three months are necessary to complete a complete cycle, but this time may decrease depending on the temperature of the breeding room. This caterpillar reaches a size of 7 to 8 cm for a weight varying between 4 and 6 g depending on the plant species used.

I'ts growth pass by five sloughing (L1 to L5) of 6 to 10 days each before to spin the cocon.

At the end of the fifth stage, larvae stop feeding and empty the intestine (liquid feces) before to make a cocoon in which the chrysalis will remain between 20 and 30 days to give a beautiful moth of beautiful size. The latter will look very quickly to reproduce. Shortly after mating, the female will will lay eggs (usually between 100 and 200 eggs). Butterflies have a life expectancy fairly short between 7 and 10 days.

  • L1: Release of the egg
  • L2: The caterpillar is yellow
  • L3 : The caterpillar becomes white
  • L4: The caterpillar's head changes from black to yellow
  • L5: The caterpillar reaches its maximum weight

The caterpillar of Bombyx eri spend most of its time eating leaves of some bushes like privet (Ligustrum), lilac, cherry laurel or ailanthus. The simplest to use is privet. It is very common in European garden and has persistant leaves all over the year. For more details about the breeding, you can check our care sheet available here.

Why choose the bombyx to feed your insectivorous animals?

larvae of Bombyx eri has many nutritive qualities (see tables). It has a lot of water. It help to keep your animals well hydrated. Proteins & amino acids that compose caterpillars (9%) are well digested by animals. It has a low rate of lipids but a high rate of unsaturated fatty acids (mainly omega 3 & 6).

Water Proteins Lipids Ratio Ca/P
84 % 9 % 2.5 % 1/9

Furthermore, the weight of a caterpillar at L5 is equivalent to about 15 crickets and 4-5 adult locusts. Bombyx eri can easily get into the diet of your animals as easily digestible while ensuring always to diversify the prey. Bombyx eri has already shown in many breeders its interest.

However, like most insects, the Ca / P ratio is not ideal and it will be advisable to add a little calcium before offering the larvae to your animals.

Article written by a passionate breeder of reptiles (source: Reptilemag & other)

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