Species of Silk Worm
There are four species of silk worms viz. mulberry silk worm (Bombyx mori F) Eri silk worm (Philosamia ricinis), Tassar silk worm (Antheraea paphis B) and muga silkworm (Antheraea assamia)
1. Mulberry Silk Worm:
It belongs to the family Bombycidae of insect order Lepidoptera. It is the most important of all the silk worms and is extensively reared in many countries including India. In India it is cultivated on mulberry in Kashmir, Punjab, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
These are classified as univoltine, bivoltine and multivoltine on the basis of number of generations per year. Univoltine race is found in Europe, Kashmir and Punjab and the silk produced is of a superior quality and the multivoltine race is found in South India, Assam and Bengal producing an inferior quality of silk.
2. Eri Silk worm:
It belongs to the family Saturniidae. It is reared on castor leaves. As the silk thread is not continuous hence it is not reel able. These silk worms are commonly reared in Assam and West Bengal.
3. Tassar Silk Worm:
It also belongs to the family Saturniidae. It is usually found in forest areas feeding on Dalbergia sp., Shorea sp., Terminalia sp., Zizyphus sp., Ficus sp. etc. but the more important hosts are Shorea robusta and Zizyphus mauritiana.
4. Muga Silk Worm:
It resembles Tassar silk worm and is found in Assam.