silkworm moth

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silkworm moth

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Silkworm larvae (genus Bombyx) feeding on mulberry leaves.—UPI

Any moth in the genus Bombyx (family Bombycidae). The Chinese silkworm (B. mori) has been used in commercial silk production for centuries. The adult, which has a wingspan of about 2 in. (50 mm) and a thick, hairy body, lives only two or three days. The female lays 300–500 eggs. The pale, naked larvae are fed mulberry leaves until pupation begins, when they are about 3 in. (75 mm) long. They spin a cocoon of one continuous white or yellow silken thread, about 1,000 yards (900 m) long. The pupa is killed with hot air or steam to preserve the thread intact. See also saturniid moth.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on silkworm moth, visit Britannica.com.

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