In early morning sunlight, a Tussar silkworm is an incredibly beautiful sight.
The surprising thing is that despite its large size, you are likely to miss it completely, until you notice that during the Autumn season, some trees have been stripped of all their leaves.
Tussar silkworms come in shades of green that blend perfectly into the foliage of Arjuna trees (Terminalia arjuna). If the color does not fool you, it also has a'twig' color-band along its sides. And like one of those fancy trailer trucks on our highways, it has a string of orange 'lights' running the length of its body!
Do these 'lights' serve some purpose? I've been scouring the net for more information but nothing has turned up so far..
Tussar silk ("Kosa" in Sanskrit), alongside Eri and Muga, happen to be some of the earliest non-plant fibers adopted in India. Yet, it is surprising to see so little information available on Google Scholar about their origins either as traded goods, or in terms of entomological studies.
- Fiber Stories -- http://www.naturalfibres2009.org/en/stories/silk.html
- Tussar Silk -- http://www.utsavpedia.com/textiles/tussar-silk-the-story-of-wild-silk/
- Prasad, Mahesh (2011): INDIA'S FOREIGN TRADE - FROM ANTIQUITY TO DATE, Google books -- http://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=P2KyHFkBh9EC&oi=fnd&pg=PA7&dq=tussar+silk+history&ots=vyC6nfgeJ-&sig=Z44Gn6GuQZ-ORB2wezi_dTWAYfI#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Wardle, Thomas (1880): Wild Silks of India - Principally Tusser -- Google Books -- http://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=24kIAAAAQAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=tussar+silk+history&ots=6NVQ3DvL6V&sig=cB9NwpJ_P1nsZt1AX9N-RlWqnxk#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Kosa Silk -- http://www.utsavpedia.com/textiles/kosa-silk-the-heritage-of-chattisgarh/
* 10 most toxic caterpillars -- http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/nature/news-ten-creepy-and-colorful-caterpillar-hazardous-human-health?image=0