Eur. J. Entomol. 110 (2): 293-300, 2013 | 10.14411/eje.2013.096

Muga silkworm, Antheraea assamensis (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) - an overview of distribution, biology and breeding

Research Coordination Section, Central Silk Board, Bangalore-560 068, Karnataka, India; e-mail:

Muga silkworm (Antheraea assamensis Helfer) is endemic to Assam and adjoining areas in North-Eastern India, and naturally produces golden silk. From time immemorial, many ethnic and tribal groups have produced muga silk. Muga silkworms are mostly wild unlike the mulberry silkworm, which is completely domesticated. The muga silkworm is a single species with little genetic variation among populations, survives harsh climatic conditions and is subject to various diseases, pests and predators. Due to the high incidence of disease and natural enemies, and variations in climatic conditions, the production of muga silk has recently declined dramatically. In order to improve the productivity of this silkworm it is important to have a better knowledge of both its host plants and biology. Lack of knowledge of its genetics and host plants is a major bottleneck. This paper reviews various aspects of muga silkworm culture, including the availability of different populations, and methods used to select for improvement in survival, cocoon yield, disease resistance, conservation and egg production.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Saturniidae, muga silkworm, Antheraea assamensis, rearing, improvement, disease, grainage

Published: April 11, 2013

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