[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.