Samia ricini — “Eri silkmoth”

Samia ricini, the Eri silkmoth, is one of the few domesticated insects. Samia ricini is not a “true” specie and does not occur in the wild. In fact, it is a polyhybrid of multiple wild Samia species – among which the Samia canningi and Samia cynthia  and more – which has been selected for silk production in captivity. This makes them very easy to keep and breed, as they have been adapted to survive in captive conditions.

ricinis  Samia ricini male (bottom) and female (top)

The Samia is a medium-sized moth from the tribe Attacini, which is why it meight remind you of a mini version of the famous Atlas moth. They have a wide range of host plants, inclusing tree of heaven (Ailanthus), and Ligustrum (privet), Ricinus (castor), Prunus (cherries) and many more.

The young caterpillars show social behaviour and during the first few instars they feed communal before becoming solitary during the final instars.

samiababiesYoung caterpillars of Samia ricini


While this specie is quite easy, the most important thing is to keep the caterpillars slightly humid and their environment clean. Especially when reared in large numbers their container should be hygienic.

The cocoons of this species are quite beautiful and silky soft due to them being selected for silk production.

ricini cocons Silky smooth!

The caterpillars grow quite large and very from blueish/greenish to white and are covered with waxy power (this probably helps them become water-repellent.). A common problem with this specie is inbreeding, which causes deformed/crippled and asymetric moths.

s ricini catSome older caterpillars

After having spun up, the moths will emerge relatively fast, in about a month.

beautiesDespite their genetic problems, S.ricini can still be quite beautiful and worthwhile

cripplesQuite a sad sight.. due to massive captive inbreeding, Samia ricini communly suffers from crippled individuals

Thank you for visiting my website! Are you perhaps..

Was this information helpful to you? Then consider contributing here (click!) to keep this information free and support the future of this website.




One thought on “Samia ricini — “Eri silkmoth””

  1. damn :c even the ones that arent crippled, something is just not right.. they are uneven…. I wish people let nature do its own thing, or at least abide by the balance


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The aim of this website is to provide information about many species of moths and butterflies around the world, with a slight focus on rearing them in captivity.

%d bloggers like this: