• Silkworm, natural size
    Silkworm, natural size
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n silkworm the commercially bred hairless white caterpillar of the domestic silkworm moth which spins a cocoon that can be processed to yield silk fiber; the principal source of commercial silk
    • n silkworm larva of a saturniid moth; spins a large amount of strong silk in constructing its cocoon
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Dissection of the silkworm Dissection of the silkworm

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Silk was developed in China were it was kept a secret for more than two thousands years. Anyone found trying to smuggle silkworm eggs or cocoons out of the country was immediately put to death
    • n Silkworm (Zoöl) The larva of any one of numerous species of bombycid moths, which spins a large amount of strong silk in constructing its cocoon before changing to a pupa.☞ The common species (Bombyx mori) feeds on the leaves of the white mulberry tree. It is native of China, but has long been introduced into other countries of Asia and Europe, and is reared on a large scale. In America it is reared only to small extent. The Ailanthus silkworm (Philosamia cynthia) is a much larger species, of considerable importance, which has been introduced into Europe and America from China. The most useful American species is the Polyphemus. See Polyphemus.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The silkworm moth has lost the ability to fly ever since it has been domesticated
    • n silkworm The larva or caterpillar of a bombycine moth or silk-moth which in the chrysalis state is inclosed in a cocoon of silk; especially, such a larva, as of Bombyx (Sericaria) mori and allied species, from which silk of commercial value is obtained. There are many species, of different genera. The ordinary silkworm of commerce, or mulberry-silkworm, is the larva of Sericaria mori. It is indigenous to China, and its cultivation spread through India and Persia, reaching Constantinople about a. d. 550. This larva is a large whitish caterpillar with an anal horn, and the moth is large-bodied, white in color, with small wings. The best races have but one annual generation, and are known as annuals. There are races, however, which have two generations (bivoltins), or three (trivoltins), or four (quadrivoltins), or eight (dacys). The cocoon varies through shades of white, cream, green, or roseate, and also greatly in size. The principal moths of wild silkworms are the tusser (Attacus mylilta) of India, the yama-mai (Antheræa yama-mai) of Japan, the pernyi (Anlheræa pernyi) ol China, the ailantus or arrindy (Samia cynthia) of China, introduced into Europe and America, and the cecropia, polyphemus, promethia, and luna of North America. See cuts under Bombyx and luna silkworm.
    • n silkworm A shopper who examines goods without buying.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Some silkworms can spin cocoons that contain more than two miles of silk
    • Silkworm the bombycid moth whose larva produces silk
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. seolcwyrm,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. seolc—L. sericum—Gr. sērikon, neut. of adj. Sērikos, pertaining to the SēresSēr, a native of China.


In literature:

No one who has not had the care of silkworms can realize the disastrous results of startling them.
"The Story of Silk" by Sara Ware Bassett
The so-called silkworms, like the bees, originated in Asia, and have long been in the care of man.
"Domesticated Animals" by Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
Good-bye; I'm going to get some mulberry-leaves for my silkworms.
"The Talking Horse" by F. Anstey
Have you not seen the labors of the silkworm?
"The Testimony of the Rocks" by Hugh Miller
I'm a regular silkworm.
"The Children's Book of Christmas Stories" by Various
During his first day's journey he observed a large orchard of mulberry-trees, which were cultivated for the feeding of silkworms.
"Travels in North America, From Modern Writers" by William Bingley
Silkworms, however, are the only providers of real silk for the world.
"Makers of Many Things" by Eva March Tappan
Silkworms had been reared in the Orient from ancient times.
"Agriculture in Virginia, 1607-1699" by Lyman Carrier
Silkworms' eggs can be bought of any naturalist, or some one who keeps silkworms will willingly give you some.
"What Shall We Do Now?: Five Hundred Games and Pastimes" by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Oh, generation of silkworms, ain't you soft!
"The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly" by Charles James Lever
The mulberry is largely grown for the rearing of silkworms.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 4" by Various
In short, John, you may be a snail, or a silkworm; but by my consent you shall never be a hare again.
"Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 15" by Various
When she spoke to Gud her voice was as musical as the song the silkworms sing.
"The Book of Gud" by Dan Spain
My little girl in the country sent home some silkworms to her sister in a light paper-box.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 93. August 6, 1887." by Various
Poultry, bees and silkworms are commonly kept.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Slice 3" by Various
Other local industries are fishing and silkworm-rearing.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Slice 4" by Various
At first the two principal collections were silkworms and silver-paper.
"Sinister Street, vol. 1" by Compton Mackenzie
Among the insects the bee and the silkworm are the most useful.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Slice 8" by Various
The principal industry is the spinning and weaving of silk, chiefly from tussur or jungle silkworms.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Slice 7" by Various
The house stood in a grove of mulberries, for to his other pursuits Mr. Ko added that of silkworm raising.
"The Red Miriok" by Anna M. Barnes

In news:

Matt and Bubba Kadane (formerly of Bedhead, The New Year) and former members of Silkworm reunite to form Bottomless Pit, recorded live on KEXP at Engine Studios in Chicago.
Somber debut for former Silkworms.
The cecropia moth is the largest of the 4 giant silkworm species found in North America.
It's a stiff price to pay for a fungus-encrusted silkworm.
Their Soy Silkworms (soy fed silkworms .
Silkworms spin cocoons in a silk farm at the Qianjin Township in Zhejiang Province, China.
According to, Dr Don Jarvis of Wyoming University and his team used spider genes to toughen up ordinary silkworms .
The spider- silkworms could prove to be mini-factories for manufacturing super-strength silk.
The silkworm 's naturally high lipid and protein levels with its flavorful taste make Silkworm Selects™ a perfect addition to your koi feeding regime when a growth boost is desirable.
The tiny black spots you see here on Me tissue are eggs which will hatch into silkworms (shown munching on a mulberry leaf) in about three to ten days.
The most important variety—as far as hungry silkworms are concerned—is Morus alba, the white-fruited mulberry of China.
Scientists report on the development of engineered silkworms that express a synthetic spider silk protein and stably produce chimeric silk fibers that are stronger than parental silkworm silk fibers and as tough as spider dragline silk.
Investors hang hopes on duo's spider-boosted silkworm threads.
Kim Thompson, (left) and Malcolm Fraser Jr are working to commercialize production of strengthened silk from silkworms implanted with spider genes.
Produced by silkworms, silk proteins or peptides are easily absorbed by the skin and hair, provide and retain moisture, protect skin from dehydration, and give it a smooth, silky feel.

In science:

Detection of peptidoglycan in human plasma using the silkworm larvae plasma test.
Model of pathogenesis of psoriasis. Part 1. Systemic psoriatic process