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What is a silkworm

The silkworm (Bombyx mori: worms of the mulberry tree) is the larva of the domesticated silkworm moth. It is native to China, Japan and Korea. In China, sericulture for the production of raw silk dates back at least 5,000 years. From China, the product was taken to Korea, Japan, and then to India and the West.

Silkworms eat white mulberry leaves, but they can eat the leaves of any plant in the genus Sturgeon. The silkworm is completely dependent on humans and does not exist in the wild. And it is a silk-producing insect with a very high economic value.

The silkworm (mulberry silkworm) goes through 4 important stages: egg, silkworm, pupa and moth.

Egg stage. The eggs will hatch into young silkworms within 8 to 10 days at a temperature of 25°C. Once the eggs are laid, the silkworm will go dormant until the end of winter. Due to genetic characteristics, after 4-5 cold months of winter, new eggs will be broken and hatch into young silkworms.

Characteristics of silkworm eggs: oval, flat, small, with a hard shell on the outside, the shape of the eggs varies depending on the species. The eggs are creamy white or yellowish in color and have many stomata on the surface of the eggs.

The stage of the silkworm. This is the stage when the silkworm eats leaves to accumulate nutrients, and the silkworm grows very fast at this stage. A mature silkworm (with enough nutrients) can be 8,000 to 10,000 times larger than when it first hatches.

The pupa stage. This is the stage after the silkworm has matured. They will continue to make cocoon nests, releasing all the silk and turning into pupae.

Grandfather stage. This is the stage after the silkworm pupae turn into moths and the cocoons are released. The adult moths will find each other for mating and the female will lay eggs. After mating, they will die after 5 days. A female moth can lay between 200 and 500 eggs and then continue the life cycle.

Where Does Silk Come From? | Silkworm cocoon, Mulberry silk, Silk hanky


There are now four common types of natural silkworms: the cassava leaf castor silkworm, the carved silkworm, the oak silkworm, and the mulberry silkworm. Of these, mulberry silk accounts for 95% of the world’s production.

Mulberry silkworms were captured and utilized by humans approximately 4,000-5,000 years ago. They have been identified to have originated in Japan, China, Europe and India

There are 2 species of cassava leaf castor silkworms, namely Philosamia cynthia (Drury) and Philosamia niconi (Hutt). This is a small silkworm that eats castor and cassava.


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