Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Silkworm Moths (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae)

  • John B. Heppner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4198
Silkworm moths, family Bombycidae, total 166 described species, all Old World and primarily Oriental (146 sp.), with only five species known for Africa. Two subfamilies are involved: Bombycinae and Prismostictinae. The family is in the superfamily Bombycoidea (series Bombyciformes), in the section Cossina, subsection Bombycina, of the division Ditrysia. Adults medium size (19–64 mm wingspan), with head scaling roughened; haustellum absent; labial palpi reduced, 1-segmented; maxillary palpi absent; antennae bipectinate (serrate or filiform in females); body robust. Wings broadly triangular (Fig. 43), usually with acute and falcate forewings; hindwings rounded. Maculation is mostly subdued browns and grays, with various striae or other markings; or white as in the domesticated silkworm moth. Adults are nocturnal. Larvae are leaf feeders. Host plants predominate in Moraceae. The silkworm ( Bombyx mori), used for silk production, is related to other native species in China (probably Bombyx...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Holloway JD (1987) Family: Bombycidae. In The moths of Borneo, vol 3. Malayan Nature Society (Malayan Nat J 41), pp 74–90, pl. 9Google Scholar
  2. Jost B, Schmid J, Wymann H-P (2000) Bombycidae & Seidenspinner. In Schmetterlinge und ihre Lebensräume: Arten-Gefährdung-Schutz. Schweiz und angrenzenden Gebiete, 3:399–402, pl. 17. Pro Natura-Schweizerische Bund fuer Naturschutz, BaselGoogle Scholar
  3. Mell R (1951) Der Seidenspinner. In Die Neue Brehm-Bücherei, 34. A. Ziemsen, Wittenberg, 45 ppGoogle Scholar
  4. Rougeot PC (1971) Bombycidae. In Les Bombycides (Lepidoptera-Bombycoidea) de l,europe et du Bassin Méditerranéen. In Faune de l, Europe et du Bassin Méditerranéen, 5:42–46. Masson, ParisGoogle Scholar
  5. Seitz A (ed) (1910–1927) Familie: Bombycidae. In Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde, 2:189–192, pl. 29–30, 35 (1911); 10:433–442, pl. 57 (1910); 14:283–285, pl. 41 (1927). A. Kernen, StuttgartGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John B. Heppner
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida State Collection of ArthropodsGainesvilleUSA