Now Playing Tracks


Breathing tubes of a silkworm

A silkworm is the caterpillar of the domesticated silkmoth, Bombyx mori. Domesticated silkworms are entirely dependent on humans for survival, where they are mass bred to produce silk. The silk from Bombyx mori is more fragile and delicate than spider silk, which is five times stronger than steel but harder to obtain than its silkworm counterpart. Scientists in Japan have recently introduced a gene encoding spider silk into silkworms, producing silk that is 50% stronger and could be invaluable in manufacturing protective suits and better surgical sutures.

Image by Michael Gibson.

We make Tumblr themes