- from Butterflies & Moths
The silk moth—or silkworm—has had a big influence on civilization. Chinese tradition tells us that the Empress Lei Zu (LAY-tsoo) discovered silk by accident. That was nearly 5,000 years ago. A cocoon fell into her teacup. As she took it out, it came undone. It turned into a strand of silk.
Demand for silk fabric led to the rise of the Silk Road. That was the first ancient trading route between China and Europe. Thanks to trade, many peoples came into contact with each other. They shared ideas, inventions, and even religions.
People find silk moths fascinating. But they’re not the only scaly wing creatures that we like. Butterflies and moths have inspired writers, artists, musicians, and philosophers.