How Much Silk Does A Silkworm Produce In Its Lifetime?
Silkworms also known as domesticated silk moth and Bombyx Mori ('Silkworm of the Mulberry Tree' in Latin), is the insect from which silk is produced. One of the first products in the world to get the 'Made in China' tag is silk! Silk has been cultivated in China, since ancient times and traded world wide since then. Chinese people are smart and they know how to create a business out of any product and they have only been getting better at it! This is a small collection of silk worm facts, which will give you an idea of how this moth creates silk, giving rise to a huge textile industry. Read more on, 'Silk Road in Ancient China'.
Before we go into those interesting silkworm facts, let us know about the zoological classification of the silkworm, which will be useful for entomology enthusiasts among you. The biological classification of the silkworm is made as follows:
- Kingdom: Animalia (as it is a multi-cellular eukaryotic organism)
- Phylum: Arthropoda (as they are invertebrate organisms with appendages and exoskeleton)
- Class: Insecta (as they have a three part body, compound eyes and antennae)
- Order: Lepidoptera (as it undergoes complete metamorphosis, going through a four stage life cycle)
- Family: Bombycidae (as it shows all the characteristics of the Moth family)
- Genus: Bombyx (as it is a mulberry silk moth)
Facts About Silkworm
These facts about silkworms are classified according to various points related to the silkworm's life cycle, silkworm habitat and various uses of silkworms.
Silkworms Facts: Life Cycle
The silkworm life cycle goes through the larva-cocoon-moth stages, which are typical of most moth like insects. Here are some interesting facts about silkworms and their life cycle.
- The silkworm eggs, laid out about 300 to 400 at a time, generally take about ten days to hatch. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae or bay silkworms eat incessantly and are always famished!
- They prefer eating white Mulberry tree leaves, as they have an attraction for the mulberry oderant called cis-jamone. They feed on all varieties of the mulberry tree.
- The silkworm larvae undergo a shedding of skin four times in a row. After the fourth shedding, the bodies of larvae turn slightly yellow and skin becomes tighter. This stage is the precursor of the 'Cocoon' stage.
- The larvae go into the motionless pupal state, after enclosing themselves in an envelope of raw silk, produced by their salivary glands. It is in this stage that silk is extracted from them. If left undisturbed, the cocoon is eventually broken and a young adult moth emerges out of it, ready to take on the world!
- If the raw silk of a single cocoon is unfolded, it will contains raw silk thread of about 300 to 900 meters in length! That is from a single cocoon! The raw silk fibers, which are about 10 micrometers in diameter are very lustrous and fine. To make one pound of silk, about 3000 cocoons are boiled in water. This kills the silkworms and makes the extraction of silk easier.
- The adult silk moth cannot fly!
Silkworms Facts: Uses
Here are some facts about the uses of silkworms.
- The primary use of silk worms is in the production of silk. Every year, 70 million pounds of raw silk is produced, after about 10 billion pounds of mulberry trees are consumed by the silkworm larvae!
- The length of the 70 million pound fabric can easily cover about 300 round trips to the Sun!
- Silkworms are a part of cuisine in both Koreas and China. A snack food called beondegi, made from boiled and seasoned silkworm pupae is very popular. Chinese like eating roasted silkworm pupae.
Healthy Uses from the Silkworm
There are even health benefits from silkworm. Serrapeptase is an enzyme that the silkworm uses to dissolve their cocoons. This enzyme is also used by us humans with numerous health benefits. It is known as a proteolytic enzyme and was discovered in the 1970s. It has been used and recommended by doctors in Europe for decades.
Serrapeptase is good for dissolving only non-living tissue allowing the old toxic layers that clog the digestive system and the lining of our arteries to dissolve.
The health benefits from taking Serrapeptase the following:
- Pain, swelling and edema: Serrapeptase is approved in Europe as a standard remedy to reduce swelling from injuries like sprains, broken bones and post-surgery swelling. Studies have shown that it also greatly reduces the pain from injuries.
- Cystic breast disease: In another study, it was found to reduce breast pain, breast swelling, and induration in 85.7% of the patients taking the supplement. Many people report that serrapeptase can actually dissolve cysts and the cysts disappear.
- Atherosclerosis: Serrapeptase removes atherosclerotic plaque without hurting any of the healthy cells along the arterial wall. Another study did find that it reduced the appearance of varicose veins and promoted normal blood clotting.
- Pain and carpal tunnel: It is also been reported that Serrapeptase is also very useful in treating pain and inflammation better than NSAIDs without the side affects of NSAIDs. Many report that the pain from carpal tunnel has been relieved greatly from its use.
It needs to be taken on an empty stomach, or it will act as a digestive enzyme only.
If you take any kind of blood thinner medications or other medications, talk to your doctor before taking Serrapeptase. One good brand is Doctor’s Best and you can read many consumers reviews of how Serrapeptase has helped them.
Amazing how many uses the silkworm has. Hope these interesting silkworm facts have impressed you. If you are thinking of starting your own sericulture business, I wish you all the best, for the same!