Niharika Konala, Praveena Abburi, Venugopal Reddy Bovilla, Anitha Mamillapalli
Journal of Insect Science 13 (98), 1-7, (1 September 2013) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.013.9801
KEYWORDS: economic traits, growth rate, mulberry leaves, silkworms
Bombyx mori L. (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae) is a well-studied Lepidopteran model system because of its morphology, life cycle, and economic importance. Many scientists have placed importance on enhancing the economic traits of B. mori because it's larvae, silkworms, are vital in the production of silk. In this study, the effect of bovine milk on B. mori growth was tested. Bovine milk contains several components that aid in healthy growth. The treatment was given to fifth instar B. mori larvae because the fifth instar period is when B. mori eats voraciously and shows maximum growth among all its larval stages. The larvae were treated with fresh mulberry, Morus L. (Rosales: Moraceae), leaves and mulberry leaves dipped in milk from the first day of the fifth instar. Treatments were given on alternate days, and the silkworms were weighed every day to determine whether milk had any role in enhancing the weight of the larvae. Cocoon weights were measured, as the weight indicates the approximate amount of silk that can be reeled. The results showed that larvae gained 82.5% more weight by the end of fifth instar larval when fed with mulberry leaves dipped in milk than when fed with fresh mulberry leaves without milk. The larvae fed with milk-treated leaves gained 310% weight from day 1 to day 7 of the fifth instar, while the larvae fed with fresh leaves gained 153% weight in the same timespan. In addition, cocoon weight increased by 8% when milk was added compared to when it was not. These results suggest that B. mori larvae can be fed mulberry leaves treated with bovine milk for better growth rate and increased silk production.