Brief note on different types of Silk worms

Mulberry Silkworm (Bombyx mori): It belongs to the family Bombycidae. China is the native place of this silkworm but now it has been introduced in all the silk producing countries like Japan, India, Korea, Italy, France and Russia.

Since the natural food of this worm is mulberry leaf it is called as mulberry silkworm. The silk produced by this moth is white in colour.

Muga silkworm (Antheraea assama):

It belongs to the family saturniidaae and common India, China and Sri Lanka. The caterpillar feeds on ber, oak, sal and fig plants. The cocoon produced by this moth is hard and of hen’s egg size which produces reel-able brown coloured silk. Though it had been only a wild variety of silk moth since long, now by cross breeding it has been possible to produce such varie4tioes which are reared anyhow and domesticated. But the domestication of tasar caterpillars is not so easy so that cocoons have to be collected from the forest. The moths do not easily breed in captivity. Since breeding is not well controlled the tasar silk industry has not reached up to mark ass the mulberry silkworm industry.

Muga silkworm (Antheraea assama):

It also belongs to the family saturnidae and semi-domesticated in nature. The native place of this species is Assam where it has now become a good source of cottage industry. The caterpillars of this worm feed machilus plant and the silk produced by this moth is known as muga silk.

Eri silkworm (Attacus ricinni):

It also belongs to the family saturnidae and produces silk in East-Asia. In India sericulture scientists are trying to produce silk in East-Asia. Sericulture scientists are trying to produce such cross breeds which can pro vide good quality of silk and can be reared easily. It feeds on castor leaf. Cocons cannot be reeled as in mulberry cocoons. Therefore, it has to be spun. Its life history resemble with that of mulberry worms. The cocoons of this worm have very loose texture and the silk produced is called as Arand silk locally. The threads are not glossy but much durable.

Oak silkworm, (Antheraea pernyi):

It belongs to the the family satgurniidae and is found in China and Japan. A roylet of the Himalayas and A. Yamamai of Japan have been reared for centuries. They produce good quality of silk.

Giant silkworm (Attacus altas):

It belongs to the family saturniidae and is found in India and Malaysia. It is the largest of the living insects reaching up to eleven inches in wing-span.

Out of the above species only four are of common use for sericulture viz, Bombyx Mori, Attacus ricinii. Antheraea Assama and Antheraea Paphia.