The diagrams below show the life cycle of the silkworm and the stages in the production of silk cloth.
Life cycle of the silkworm
The diagrams display the life cycle of the silkworm and how silkworm cocoons are used to make silk cloth.
Overall, there are four main stages in the life cycle — egg, larva, cocoon, and adult moth — and six in silk cloth production — selecting, boiling, unwinding, twisting, weaving, and dyeing.
The life cycle begins when female moths lay eggs. After around 10 days, the eggs hatch, and silkworm larvae emerge. The larvae feed on mulberry leaves for about 4 to 6 weeks and then start to create protective layers called cocoons by spinning a single strand of silk around themselves. It takes them approximately 3 to 8 days to produce enough silk to surround their whole body. They stay in the cocoons for about 16 days to transform into adult moths. After the female moths lay eggs, the life cycle begins again.
To produce silk cloth, silkworm cocoons are first selected. Those found suitable for production are subsequently boiled in water before being unwound into strands of silk that measure about 300 to 900 meters long. From here, they are twisted to form thicker silk threads. Some of the threads go straight to the dyeing process, while the others are woven into cloth, which is then dyed.
Cloth, Not Clothes
Be careful that the second diagram shows the production of silk cloth, not silk clothes. Here, “cloth” is an uncountable noun, meaning a type of woven material, not the clothes we wear.