One of our readers recently asked us, “Do all worms produce silk?” The answer to this question is no, not all worms produce silk. In fact, most worms do not produce silk. However, some larvae do produce silk, which they use to spin cocoons. In this article we will discuss some different kinds of larvae that produce silk!
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Inchworms are the larvae of Geometer moths. There are about 35,000 different species of these caterpillars around the world, and roughly 1,400 in North America. They have a lot of different nicknames, and range in color from green, brown, to grey. Inchworms are often recognized by their characteristic movement pattern, which is where their name is derived from. Inchworms live in trees and use silk threads (which they produce) to lower themselves to the ground. The larvae burrow into the dirt and spin protective cocoons out of their silk.
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Household casebearers, which are moth larvae, are often considered household pests. These larvae construct a “case” out of the silk they secrete. The outside of their case then collects tiny particles of sand, dust, dirt, and other fibers. As the larvae grow, the case begins to drag behind them. Once they are ready to pupate, they crawl up the side of a wall and attach to the wall using secreted silk.
Indian Meal Moth Larvae
Indian meal moth larvae, also known as pantry moth larvae, are common household pests often found in a pantry or kitchen. These larvae feed on dry food products including grains, cereals, dried fruit, flours, pasta, bread, candy, nuts, and dried herbs. People often realize they are dealing with a pantry moth infestation when they notice the silky webbing these larvae leave behind in the food products. When the larvae are mature, they crawl up onto the walls or ceiling and spin a cocoon out of excreted silk.
To wrap up, one of our readers wrote to us wondering if all worms produce silk. Most worms do not produce silk, but many types of larvae do! In this article we provide a few examples of larvae that produce silk.