a*Department of Zoology, Krantisinh Nana Patil College. Walwa, 416313. Maharashtra, India
Received, 20th January,2013 :Revised: 05th February 2014
Abstract : Caster ( Ricinus communis L) is the primary food plant of eri silk worm Philosamia ricini Hutt.is cultivated Maharashtra in about 25,000 hectares mainely for its non-edible oil seed production purpose . In sangli district sugarcane, soybean. turmeric and grapes are the main cash crops, however caster is cultivated on bandhas and especiallv in drought affected tahsils viz .Atpadi Jat, Khanapur. Vita, Miraj (east), Tasgaon and Khanapur. .Ericulture will be a boon for small farmers to enhance their income from caster. In the present study it was observed that Girija caster variety is prevalent in sangli district. The rearing batches fed on Girija caster variety and the results of experiment carried out on growth, development, economic cocoon parameters and grainage parameters of eri silk worm (Philosamia ricini). It was observed that the weight of mature larva was 44.859gm and total instar duration was 16.320 days, the larval period was 21.20 days and the pupal period was about 18 to 21 days the survivability of Philosamia ricini was 97.42%, whereas the rate of rearing, cocoon characteristics and grainage parameters were significantly maximum. The study indicates that there is scope for further expansion of ericulture to improve socioeconomic conditions of especially drought affected farmers.