How do silkworms make silk?
Credit:baobao ouMomentGetty Images
Q:

How do silkworms make silk?

A:

Quick Answer

Silkworms make silk by spewing a substance called fibroin through small holes in their jaws called spinnerets. The spewed-out substance consists of digested leaves and protein produced by the worm. The silkworm produces up to 1200 silken threads within a 72 hour time period, creating a soft, silver cocoon. Once the cocoon process is complete, silk farmers harvest the threads with steam, and the delicate fibers are spun and woven into silk fabrics.

 Know More

Full Answer

Silkworms use their salivary glands to produce fibroin, and they create their cocoons by rotating repeatedly for up to 72 hours. Each cocoon produces approximately one kilometer of silk fiber. Silk farmers remove the cocoon with steaming water and carefully unwind the cocoon fibers.

Silkworm farmers harvest silkworm eggs by incubating them until they hatch into caterpillars. The larvae are fed mulberry leaves and lettuce for approximately six weeks. While silkworms feed on a variety of plant life, their favorite meal is mulberry leaves. Silkworm larvae that is fed only mulberry leaves during the feeding process are known to produce the finest silk on the market. During this time, the silkworm eats 50,000 times its weight in plant materials. Once the silkworm reaches a maximum weight and height, it changes color and prepares to spin its cocoon.

Learn more about Worms

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the tiny and wiry red worms in the pond?

    A:

    The tiny red worms in your pond are more than likely bloodworms. They are the first stage of life of the midge fly and are actually very beneficial to your pond, especially if you are raising fish.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do you make a worm shocker?

    A:

    An effective worm shocker can be easily made with a few common household supplies, including an extension cord, electrical tape, wire nuts and a metal rod. Although using electricity to drive worms out of the ground after rainfall can be much easier than shoveling soil, homemade electrical devices carry risks and should not be handled by the inexperienced or those with heart issues.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do grubs look like?

    A:

    Grubs are large, white, curved larvae with feet protruding from the upper torso. Grubs are the larvae of beetles and spend the first stages of their lives in the soil eating roots. These C-shaped creatures have fat, puffy bodies in their larval stage.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do earthworms breathe?

    A:

    Earthworms breathe air through their skin, which diffuses oxygen from the surrounding environment. Moisture is vital for the earthworm, as it allows oxygen to be retained while carbon dioxide is expelled. The mucus secreted by the earthworm's skin assists in preventing desiccation, a state of extreme dryness.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore