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Muga (non-mulberry) Cultivation
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Brief Statistics on Muga (non-Mulberry) Cultivation

Different Stages of Muga Silk Cultivation

Life cycle of Muga silkworm ( Antheraea assama Ww)
  Muga silkworm is a holometabolous insect passing through complete metamorphosis from egg to adult. The life cycle lasts for 50 days in summer and max. 150 days in winter. The silkworms are reared out door and as such are exposed to vagaries of nature. The total days required in different stages both in summer and winter are shown in the Table aside :-


Days required




 Egg 7 15
 Larval 24 52
 Spinning 3 6
 Pupal 14 44
 Moth 2 3

Total :

50 120
 Image Gallery of Muga Silkworm Life Cycle shown below :-


Muga Larvae ( I instar )

Muga Larvae ( II instar )

Muga worm ( III instar )

Muga worm ( IV instar )

Muga worm ( V instar )
Mature worms transformed to cocoons through intermediate stages  <click here to view in detail>

Muga Cocoons

Muga Pupae
Female moth Male moth

Mating pair

Female tied on kharika (oviposition device)

Female moth with eggs on kharika

Intermediate stages where mature worms are getting transformed to cocoons, then into Moth

Gravid worms placed on Jali

Worm ready to discharge silk

Hammock formation is on

Transformation into cocoon is over

Harvested Muga cocoons ready for market

Garlanding of Muga seed cocoons

Emergence of Moth from cocoon

Moths are ready for coupling
Back to main Life cycle stage


    In general, Muga Silkworm is multivoltine with 5-6 broods per year. The wild stock undergoes pupal diapause (quiscence) for 5-6 months from Sept. to March thus behaving a bivoltine. The crop cycle of the commercially exploited semi domesticated form is as under :

Crop Nature Season Month covered Date of Brushing Shell wt. (gms)
JARUA Pre-seed Winter Dec - Feb. 17-20 January 0.28
CHOTUA Seed (P-1) Early Spring Mar - April 25-28 March 0.40
JETHUA 2nd. comm. Spring May - June 14-17 May 0.45
AHERUA Pre-seed early Summer July 03-06 July 0.35
BHODIA Seed (P-1) late Summer Aug - Sept. 22-26 August 0.33
KOTIA Main comm. Autumn Oct - Nov. 11-15 October 0.57

   Out of the above six crops, the Pre-seed & Seed crops i.e. Jarua, Chotua, Aherua & Bhodia are hazardous due to formidable climatic conditions as well as various biotic factors. However, these crops are important and rearing need to be continued for commercial egg production.

Constraints of Muga Seed Sector

The major constraints of the Muga seed sector in Cooch Behar are as under :-
  • Lack of pure line to identify high yielding ones.
  • Low fecundity coupled with low to very low hatching during the Aherua & Bhodia crop.
  • Weakly integrated seed multiplication chain at P2 & P1 level.
  • Frequent crop loss due to adverse climatic conditions affecting seed multiplication.
  • Inadequate local cold storage facilities for skipping rearing during adverse seasons.

Som Plant
Status :
Biological Name :
Family :
Local Name :
Primary food plant for reeling cocoons
Persea Bombycina King
Soalu Plant
Soalu Plant
Status :
Biological Name :
Family :
Local Name :
Primary food plant for seed cocoons
Litsaea Polyantha Juss
Shamal / Ban Kanthal

Colour polymorphism in Muga Silkworms

Muscardine diseased worm

Muscardine, the fungal disease is less prevalent in Muga culture. The disinfections of DFLs with 2% formaldehyde (HCHO) solution reduces the disease intensity by killing the fungal spores.

Blue colour morphs
Yellow-colour morph

Mature worms crawl down on the tree trunk - indication of their semi-domesticated nature


   38 (thirty eight) numbers of MRTM (Motorized Reeling cum Twisting Machine), 27 (twenty seven) numbers of MSM (Motorized Spinning Machine) and 10 (ten) numbers of Re-reeling devices have been supplied to the beneficiaries under CDP/UNDP and SGSY fund during last few years at Cooch Behar. The very machines are owned by individual reeler/ spinner as well as 2 (two) nos. of Mahila Samity and 4 (four) SGSY women groups. Most of the machines are functional and produced 1.85 Qntls. of Muga raw silk and about 1.00 Qntl. of spun silk respectively during 2004-2005. About 9.27 lakhs reeling cocoons are consumed during the process.

Post cocoon operations

Extraction of Silk threads from  Cocoons

Hot Air Drying Device (developed by CMER & TI, Lahdoigarh)

Traditional Spinning on charkha

Reeling operation in MRTM

Re-reeling device

Bobbins with golden motion

Reeling device for weft yarn (BANI)

Glamourous Muga raw silk

Muga based diversified products

Muga silk weaving is on

  Considering its incresing demand in the market, Muga silk weaving has been introduced at Tufanganj I Block of Coochbehar district where 45-50% of total raw silk production is being converted into fabric by few skilful Muga weavers. Of late "Fabric PLUS" (web : fabricplusindia.com), a Mumbai based export concern has shown keen interest on development of Muga based product samples viz., furnishings, stoles, curtain panel, blends with muga ghicha/ spun yarn etc. here by involving the said weavers.

  The diversified items have already generated significant impact in the global market as opined by "Fabric Plus". Besides, District Handloom Development Officer has recently organised a "Structured training Programme" for 1 (one) month on Muga silk weaving and design development for 15 nos. (fifteen) of interested handloom weavers throughout the district to popularise the avocation.      

Plain Muga fabric weaved
  Click here for fabric samples 

Muga spells vibrancy     Click for more Products

Click - Motion Page of Sericulture, Cooch Behar
click on the following topics to view the videos
Birth of Moth from Pupa Jali Formation (transformation of cocoon)
Moths laying eggs Manual reeling of Muga
Larva being laid/harvested Mechanical reeling of Muga
Maturing of Muga worms

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