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Silk Cocoon

The silkworm is the larva or caterpillar or imago of the domestic silkmoth, Bombyx mori (Latin: “silkworm of the mulberry tree”). It is an economically important insect, being a primary producer of silk. A silkworm’s preferred food is white mulberry leaves, though they may eat other mulberry species and even osage orange. Domestic silkmoths are closely dependent on humans for reproduction, as a result of millennia of selective breeding.

Tussar silk alternatively spelled as Tussah, Tushar, Tassar, Tussore, Tasar, Tussur, Tusser and also known as -Kosa silk) is produced from larvae of several species of silkworms belonging to the moth genus Antheraea, including A. assamensis, A. mylitta, A. paphia, A. pernyi, A. roylei and A. yamamai. These silkworms live in the wild forest in trees belonging to Terminalia species and Shorea robusta as well as other food plants like jamun and oak found in India, eating the leaves of the trees they live on. Tussar silk is valued for its rich texture and natural deep gold colour, and varieties are produced in many countries, including India.

Eri silk comes from the caterpillar of Samia cynthia ricini, found in northeast India. The name “eri” is derived from the Assamese word “era”, which means “castor”, as the silkworm feeds on castor plants. One of the common names, the “Ailanthus silk moth”, refers to the host plant. Eri silk is also known as endi or errandi in India. The woolly white silk is often referred to as the fabric of peace when it is processed without killing the silkworm. This process results in a silk called Ahimsa silk. Moths leave the cocoon and then the cocoons are harvested to be spun. The eri silkworm is the only completely domesticated silkworm other than Bombyx mori.