Antheraea pernyi

Antheraea pernyi

Antheraea pernyi, the Chinese (Oak) Tussah Moth (or "Chinese Tasar Moth"), also known as Temperate Tussah Moth, is a large moth in the family Saturniidae. Antheraea roylei is an extremely close relative and the present species might actually have evolved from ancestral A. roylei by chromosome rearrangement (Arunkumar et al. 2006).

They are originally from southern China. Used for tussah silk production, they have been distributed more widely across subtropical and tropical Asia. Unlike the Domestic Silkmoth which is entirely dependent on human care, tussah silkmoths can survive in the wild if they escape from captivity; small local populations of such feral stock may thus occasionally occur.

This is one of the major producers of tussah silk. It was of commercial importance during the Han Dynasty and early Three Kingdoms era, about 200 BC to 250 AD. More recently, the hybridogenic species Antheraea × proylei is being bred for tussah silk production. It originated from a natural hybrid between male A. pernyi and A. roylei females, F1 females of which were backcrossed to A. pernyi males. For reasons unknown, it is a case of paternal mtDNA transmission: the mitochondrial genome, normally inherited from the mother only in sexually reproducing organisms, is almost identical to that of the present species. (Arunkumar et al. 2006).

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