Saturday, October 10, 2015

Factoid of the day: Caterpillars take two

I got interrupted when I posted below about the huge ugly caterpillar.

The photo of the moth reminded me of the huge Atlas Moth that we have here in the Philippines.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, Illinois.
Their caterpillars aren't quite as ugly as the one cited below, but they are pretty ugly...

This Singapore website has more information...They are related to silk worm moths.

While the Silkworm Moth (Bombyx mori, which belongs to a different but related family) which makes its cocoon out of one unbroken silk strand, the Atlas Moth caterpillar makes it out of broken strands of silk. Nevertheless, Atlas Moth cocoons are used to make a durable silk called Fagara Silk, in northern India. In Taiwan, their cocoons are made into pocket purses!

more on Fagara silk HERE

and  HERE. at Univ MS

The silk from Attacus atlas is various shades of brown and tan, depending on the foodplant used for the caterpillars.  The woven fabric is always the natural brown and beige colors; we have not seen any examples where it has been dyed.  Some of the products for atlas and Cricula silk include purses, shoes, jackets, shirts, lampshades, and scarves.  The “attacus silk,” as it is called in Indonesia, is also exported to Japan to make obis.  An obi is a wide and very long belt worn with a kimono. 

Jennifer Seltzer's page at UnivMississippi has a table listing quite a few silk producing insects LINK 

wild silk and regular silk could be cultivated here (and is, in small amounts) but lacking money to build up the industry, it is easier for mountain farmers to grow marijuana alas.

more about the Philippine silk industry HERE.  and here.

No comments: