JOHN BURBIDGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BURBIDGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light micrograph of the chewing mouthparts of the silkworm; the larva of the silk moth Bombyx mori. The caterpillar feeds on mulberry leaves, and produces the threads of silk valued by man for the production of silk cloth. The thread is extruded from two silk glands which open onto the spinneret, a small papilla in the centre of the labium (lower lip). Two substances are extruded which harden on contact with the air. All lepidopteran caterpillars produce a form of silk in the same way, but none has the same quality as that produced by Bombyx mori. Magnification: x20 at 6x7 cm size.
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