Diverse evidence that <i>Antheraea pernyi</i> (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) is entirely of sericultural origin.


  • R. S. Peigler


China, Chinese oak silkmoth, India, sericulture, temperate tasar silk, tussah silk, wild silk


There is a preponderance of evidence that the tussah silkmoth Antheraea pernyi was derived thousands of years ago from the wild A. roylei. Historical, sericultural, morphological, cytogenetic, and taxonomic data are cited in support of this hypothesis. This explains why A. pernyi is very easy to mass rear, produces copious quantities of silk in its cocoons, and the oak tasar “hybrid”crosses between A. pernyi and A. roylei reared in India were fully fertile through numerous generations. The case is made that it is critical to conserve populations and habitats of the wild progenitor as a genetic resource for this economically important silkmoth.