Silkworms Spin Luxury Threads
by Nancy Garduno age 11
Silk, one of the strongest and most sought
after fabrics in the world is actually produced by a tiny caterpillar
called the silkworm.
Silkworms produce thread that when woven together creates silk.
Silkworms eat leaves from only one plant, the mulberry tree. Today,
these insects no longer live in the wild. Instead, they are used for
silk farming. The silkworm forms a cocoon by wrapping a single strand
of silk around itself. Silk farmers then boil this cocoon in water to
separate the strand of silk and make it ready for weaving.
Unfortunately, this boiling also kills the silkworm.
silk production, not many pupae become adult
Bombyx Mori moths. Farmers leave
only a few of these to moths for breeding. The majority of the
cocoons are plunged into boiling water to separate the strand of
silk. The pupa dies and the gum on the silk is dissolved. The fine
silk of many cocoons is woven together to be made into thread.
autumn comes, silkworms find a suitable position on a mulberry tree.
Once it finds a place, it settles itself and begins oozing out silk
from its, spinneret. In the beginning, the silkworm forms a flimsy
curtain, like a spider web, with a few threads strung onto the
leaves. The silkworm is still visible at this stage.
few hours later, the silkworm stops running its silk in between
mulberry leaves and starts to wrap itself in the silk. The silkworm
uses a single strand of silk that is about half a mile long to
entirely encase itself in a cocoon. Inside the cocoon the silkworm
becomes a pupa. This is the stage of development a moth or a
butterfly undergoes when they don’t feed or move. From this stage,
The pupa emerges as an adult insect.
China, the silkworm has been cultivated for its fine silk for about
5,000 years. According to the legend, in 2,700 B.C. the princess of
China, Si-Ling-Chi, first noticed how to use silkworm cocoons to make
fine thread. Si-Ling-Chi was there after known as Seinthan,”the
silk goddess.” Today, silk is used to make fine garments all over
[Source:Big Bug Book]