Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
In 1989, 74 thousand tons of silk were produced (Lepidoptera Part 2 1997). Even with each cocoon yeilding one half mile of fibers, that is an astounding amount of silk (The Animal World 1990). Bombyx mori is an incredibly important species to humans because we rely on their silk for our textile and clothing industries. For many years, China had a monopoly on the benifits of this industrious animal. In fact, Bombyx mori are one of the few animals that carried the death penalty as a punishment for smuggling them out of their native country (Lepidoptera Part 2 1997).
Bombyx mori are quite important animals in the science world as well. They are used in Australia for educational purposes in schools (Herbison-Evans 1997). Scientists in the field of sericulture are working on mapping their genes in hopes of improving the quality of the world's silk and expanding our knowledge of genetics in general. Bombyx mori were the animals in which pheromones were first discovered and named (Pines 1997).