First Graders Learn About the Life Cycle of the Silkworm

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First graders are studying the life cycle of the silkworm in Science class. They raise these insects from eggs.  
 
"Silk worms are actually a type of caterpillar that spins silk cocoons around themselves after they turn approximately one month old," explained Mr. Knight. "Whenever they are finally ready to start spinning their cocoon, they will stop eating any food and then they will turn yellowish. At this point, it will then take the silk worm approximately three days to spin their cocoon around themselves. If their threads are disturbed by anything, the silk worm will have to start all over again spinning a new cocoon."
 
The silk that is used in forming these cocoons is actually hardened silkworm saliva that has been secreted from the silk worm’s mouth. There is a small spinneret that is located on the silk worm’s lip, which is used to excreet the silk that they use to form their cocoon. This single strand of silk that the silk worm forms is about one mile long. Silk worms have to work in a figure-8 pattern in order to spin their cocoon around themselves.
 
Silkworm moths emerge from their cocoons after spending about two to three weeks metamorphosing. As moths, they do not eat or fly. They will usually mate, lay eggs and die within a week.  
 
Students were excited when they saw that some eggs have already hatched!