- from Butterflies & Moths
Few animals have influenced civilization as much as the lowly 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 supposedly fell into her teacup. As she removed the cocoon, it unraveled into a strand of silk.
Demand for silk fabric created the Silk Road—the first ancient trading route between China and Europe. The Silk Road allowed vastly different cultures to exchange ideas, religions, and inventions.
Silk moths are not the only scaly wing creatures to capture human imagination. Poets, artists, playwrights, musicians, and philosophers have all drawn inspiration from butterflies and moths.