So ‘Sexta Can Wait

[Hey, this is Meg; It says Amanda because she logged in for me.]

My project is finally underway after several issues with the set-up. I had started out with the first group of manduca in their boxes, but they decided to make like Houdini and disappear on me. So I got a new group of eggs and set them up in tubes to grow until they are too large to escape. I had to wait what felt like a week for them to hatch, but finally they are all hatched and growing. Most have reached second instar by now, and pretty soon I will be moving them to their boxes.

None have reached third instar yet, when I will take their measurements and record their responses to being handled. So right now, I am just waiting for the little darlings to grow bigger so I can move on to the next part of the project. However, today I did notice that two partnered caterpillars were going at it in their tube: the larger one chasing the smaller one around and biting him. This seems to be unusual, as I have not observed it with any of the others; usually they bite when their face randomly ends up near another caterpillar’s body, but this particular bully seemed to have ill intention. We shall see if this has any effect on either of their responses later.

World Beyond the Plastic- Letter 1

Dear world beyond the plastic,

I don’t know where I am or how I got here, but it feels like I’ve been here forever. Now, some of the other Manduca sexta have gotten it into their heads that this isn’t so bad- they have tomato for dinner every night. I, on the other hand, have been fed nothing but stinky yellow goop that the oddly-shaped beings call artificial diet. I’d like to see them eat the stuff. Needless to say, I only eat when I have to.

It’s odd though, you see, because some of the others are poked and lifted away at times and then returned home to find their meals have changed. But never me. I’m just a little guy, still in my second instar and only larger than the new guys that just arrived… so I guess you could say I’m easily overlooked. Not the big guys though, they get different meals practically all the time (OK, not all the time, but like twice…) and me? Well, I’m just sitting here on my throne of artificial until the day they notice me. I digress though…

Oh yeah! I wanted to talk about the oddly-shaped beings…Well, let me tell you they’re huge and not too friendly. Odd hours, they pick us up and move us from one place to another and then back to the start. WEIRD, RIGHT?! Now, they’re getting faster though. We’re handled less, and for shorter times, but we fear for the worst. Some of our friends and neighbors have gone missing, only to be replaced by younger ones. It started with a few, but then there were many, causing whispers of a world beyond the plastic to emerge. Mmmm, but who can say for certain where they’ve gone? Maybe the oddly-shaped ones know, but they only speak to us in shrieks and high voices…morons. Anyway, the box is growing dark now so I must go. I know you can’t hear me, world beyond the plastic, but I will speak to you again.

Dreaming of you.
M. sexta in A2




-Amanda Horst
Eaton 207
Subject of Dr. Jacobs