JOHN BURBIDGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BURBIDGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light micrograph of a silkworm: the larva of the silk moth Bombyx mori. The head is at top; each segment of the abdomen has a hair tuft; internally the dark gut can be seen within the body. This caterpillar produces the white and yellow threads of silk valued commercially 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 from here which harden on contact with the air. All lepidopteran cater- pillars produce a form of silk in the same way, but none has the same quality as that produced by Bombyx mori. Magnification: x20 at 6x7cm size.
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