Morphology and tensile properties of silk fibers produced by uncommon Saturniidae

Narendra Reddy, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Silk fibers produced by undomesticated wild insects belonging to the Saturniidae family have unique properties compared to the commonly used silks. Insects belonging to the Saturniidae family are one of the largest moths found throughout the world, produce large cocoons and are easier to rear than B. mori. In this research, we have characterized the morphology and tensile properties of silks produced by eight wild insects that belong to the Saturniidae family. Fibers produced by Saturniidae insects such as C. hercuels have properties similar to that of B. mori silk whereas fibers produced by Copaxa multifenestrata have inferior properties than B. mori or the common wild silks. In addition, the tensile properties of the fibers vary considerably between insects. Fibers with fineness ranging from 1.5 to 7.8. denier and breaking tenacity ranging from 0.9 to 5. g per denier are produced by the Saturniidae insects. Identifying the unique properties of Saturniidae silks such as tensile properties, yield of silk from the cocoons and ability to grow under different environments will help to evaluate the potential of rearing the wild insects for commercial production of silk for textile, medical and other applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-424
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Morphology
  • Protein fibers
  • Silk
  • Tensile properties
  • Wild insects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Energy(all)


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