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.

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

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.

Young caterpillars of Samia ricinisamiababies

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.

Silky smooth!ricini cocons

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.

Some older caterpillarss ricini cat

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

Despite their genetic problems, S.ricini can still be quite beautiful and worthwhilebeauties

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


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


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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.

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