Besides becoming extinct in the wild, silkworms have been greatly altered by their domestication. The adult moths of the species can no longer fly, and their wings are useful only for mating displays.
The species is named for its caterpillars. They create the silk for which they are named when they pupate as protective cocoons. Most silkworms never reach adulthood, as they are boiled in their cocoons before emerging to separate out the silk.