Sun, May 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Researchers develop silkworm for children to raise

By Wu Liang-yi and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Three silkworms of a new type bred by the Council of Agriculture’s Miaoli District Agricultural Research and Extension Station are displayed in Miaoli County on Thursday.

Photo: Wu Liang-yi, Taipei Times

The Council of Agriculture’s Miaoli District Agricultural Research and Extension Station has successfully bred a new type of black-and-white striped silkworm that is easy to keep at home.

Nicknamed “black whirlwind” (黑旋風), the silkworm only requires a sufficient amount of mulberry leaves to survive, station staff said, adding that black whirlwind is the result of years of crossbreeding between two types of silkworms by researchers.

The researchers crossbred a type of black-and-white striped silkworm that is physically weak, difficult to raise and inappropriate for school-aged children with a common, physically strong and white-colored silkworm to create the black-and-white striped and physically strong black whirlwind, station director Lu Hsiu-ying (呂秀英) said.

The black whirlwind produces white silk, she said.

The station is conserving 136 types of domesticated silkworms, or Bombyx mori, the adults of which can be fed, she added.

As it is a species that goes through a complete metamorphosis, raising domesticated silkworms at home could help school-aged children understand the insect’s entire life cycle — egg, larval, pupal and adult stages — within one to two months, Lu said.

The council said it would introduce black whirlwind to silkworm farmers and textbook publishers.

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