- from Butterflies & Moths
Few animals have had as much of an impact on civilization as the silk moth (or “silkworm”). Chinese tradition tells us that the Empress Lei Zu (LAY-tsoo) discovered the moth’s priceless secret by accident. That was nearly 5,000 years ago. A cocoon fell into her teacup. As she removed it, it unraveled into a strand of silk.
Demand for silk fabric created the Silk Road. That was the first ancient trading route between China and Europe. The Silk Road led very different cultures to exchange ideas, religions, and inventions.
Silk moths have captured the human imagination. But they are not the only scaly wing creatures to have done so. Poets, artists, playwrights, musicians, and philosophers have all been inspired by butterflies and moths.