Silk Moth

The Silk Moth (Bombyx mori) is an insect in the Bombycidae family of silk moths. 

The Silk Moth has a heavy, bristly body and small wings. It is fair to light brown with thin dark bands across its body. Its wings are cream-coloured. It is not capable of sustained flight – it is only airborne for a short time.

Silk Moth (caterpillar)

The Silk Moth grows to 3-5 centimetres (1-2 inches) in length. The female is larger than the male. 

It is native to China, Japan, and Korea. 

The Silkworm is not a worm – it is a caterpillar. It is the caterpillar (larva) of the Silk Moth. Silk production is called sericulture. The silkworm eats the leaves of the white mulberry tree or the osage orange tree. 

The life cycle is egg, larva, cocoon, and adult. The female Silk Moth lays eggs on mulberry leaves. The eggs hatch after 9-12 days. After feeding on leaves, the larva pupates in a cocoon and the adult moth emerges.

Silk Moth (caterpillar)
Silk Moth (cocoon and adult moth)
Silk Moth

Location of photographs: Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Tbilisi, Georgia

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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