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Silk
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  • Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles


 Silk facts


  • The protein fiber of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons
  • The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity (sericulture)
  • The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors
  • Silk is produced by several insects, but generally only the silk of moth caterpillars has been used for textile manufacturing
  • There has been some research into other types of silk, which differ at the molecular level
  • Silk is mainly produced by the larvae of insects undergoing complete metamorphosis, but some insects such as webspinners and raspy crickets produce silk throughout their lives
  • Silk production also occurs in Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, and ants), silverfish, mayflies, thrips, leafhoppers, beetles, lacewings, fleas, flies, and midges
  • Other types of arthropod produce silk, most notably various arachnids such as spiders

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