Silkworm Eggs at Low Temperatures: Implications for Sericulture

  • Okitsugu Yamashita
  • Toshinobu Yaginuma


Sericulture and apiculture are unique among the field of general entomology, because they contribute to the development of technical bases for the use of insects as a bioresource for human life. Sericulture usually includes all phases of raw silk production and has a long history of developing industrial techniques. Rapid development has been achieved by the improvement of silkworm strains using hybrid breeding and the expansion of the rearing season by controlling embryogenesis (Yokoyama, 1973). Artificial hatching of eggs was less important when larvae were reared only in the spring, for under natural conditions larval hatching takes place in the spring in conceit with the growth of mulberry leaves. In nature, diapause eggs laid in spring never hatch before a long period of cold exposure during hibernation. Thus, no larvae appear in summer or autumn even when mulberry leaves are available. To elicit egg hatch for summer- and autumn-rearing, intense efforts have been made in studies of diapause, cold storage, and artificial hatching of silkworm eggs. This research has not only clarified the physiological mechanisms of diapause, but it has also provided appropriate techniques for obtaining hatchable eggs at any time of the year.


Mulberry Leave Larval Hatching Subesophageal Ganglion Yolk Cell Sorbitol Content 
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© Chapman and Hall 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Okitsugu Yamashita
  • Toshinobu Yaginuma

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