CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Silkworm pupa. The cocoon of a silk moth, Bombyx mori, cut open to show the pupa. The silk moth caterpillar feeds on mulberry leaves, and produces a silk cocoon valued by humans for the production of silk cloth. The caterpillar's silk is extruded from two specialized salivary glands which secrete substances which harden on contact with the air. Once the cocoon is completed the pupa is killed with steam or hot air so that the emergence of the moth does not spoil the silk. All lepidopteran caterpillars produce a form of silk in the same way, but none has the same quality as that produced by Bombyx mori.
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