The Life of the Silkworm - Anecdotes and Curiosities about its life cycle
The silkworm and its history
Bombix Mori is the scientific name of the silkworm, also known as "filugello" or, in the jargon of breeders, "bigatto" or "cavaliere". The ideal nourishment is constituted by the leaves of the mulberry tree, but some qualities of silkworms also live on oaks and ash trees, giving life to a cocoon of irregular yarn.
The month or so in which the precious life of the silkworm is concentrated has precise rhythms, marked by mutations, cyclical lethargy and voracious meals, especially in the last phase, until the self-prison of the cocoon in which the silkworm closes.
The birth of the silkworm
As soon as it comes out of the egg, the silkworm is a tiny larva that immediately begins to eat the very tender mulberry leaves that the breeder prepares for its five-day hunger. This is a period of rapid growth which, after a day of uninterrupted sleep, is followed by the first mutation. The filugello will have to change four times the chitinous involucre that wraps its skin before it can reach maturity and be able to weave the cocoon.
During the time of the moults, which are considered real crises of the whole organism, the worm refuses any food and after having tied itself to a support with some thin silk burrs, it remains motionless with the thorax arched and the head turned downwards. This is sleep and with every awakening the worm becomes bigger and more voracious.
One ounce of silkworms (thirty grams of seed) consumes in a rational breeding, avoiding any waste, one thousand kilos of mulberry. Of these 230 kilos in the first four ages, while the other 770 will devour them all at once, in an accelerated fury in the last phase that precedes the frenetic dance to weave the cocoon.
The impressive growth of the silkworm
The last metamorphosis is characterized by a spectacular activity. In the past, this incredible explosion of nature's vitality took place in the "wood", a bed of bundles of heather and brushwood prepared by the silkworm farmer, while today it takes place in individual, made-to-measure cells where the silkworm performs a sinuous, enveloping, agitated evolution to guide the thread of its slime composed of countless protein droplets of fibroin that become thread, sticking together with the sticky sericin before exiting its mouth. A dance that goes on for three-four days and whose result is the cocoon consisting of a thread of variable length from six hundred to two thousand meters. A continuous thread that, once blanched in boiling water, is uncovered, plucked and spun, preserves the winged iridescence and impalpable luminosity of the unborn butterfly.
The soft natural fiber
We are talking about silk. A living fiber, absolutely natural, with a protein composition very similar to our skin. Perhaps this is also why wearing a garment made of the noblest of fibres gives an immediate sense of softness, wellbeing and protection. Silk is synonymous with high fashion, with the great names in ready-to-wear that animate the dreams and expectations of the most beautiful women in the world. Silk is therefore, today more than ever, a legend that is proposed with a charm that time has not been able to undermine and that has found its point of maximum expression right in Como, on the shores of a lake whose waters have the same enchanting reflections of the precious thread.
Having the opportunity to carry on these traditions with a strong craftsmanship in the processing and transformation of beautiful silk accessories, are a pure source of inspiration for our young project Aquadulza.
Aquadulza picks up this witness that has been handed down for generations, proposing beautiful digital prints of unique landscapes of Lake Como printed on soft silk. Discover our collections of ties, scarves and many other fashion accessories.
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