Since the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident, morphological abnormalities in lepidopteran insects, such as shrinkage and/or aberration of wings, have been reported. Butterflies experimentally exposed to radiocesium also show such abnormalities. However, because of a lack of data on absorbed dose and dose–effect relationship, it is unclear whether these abnormalities are caused directly by radiation. We conducted a low dose-rate exposure experiment in silkworms reared from egg to fully developed larvae on a 137CsCl-supplemented artificial diet and estimated the absorbed dose to evaluate morphological abnormalities in pupal wings. We used 137CsCl at 1.3 × 103 Bq/g fresh weight to simulate 137Cs contamination around the FDNPP. Absorbed doses were estimated using a glass rod dosimeter and Monte Carlo particle transport simulation code PHITS. Average external absorbed doses were approximately 0.24 (on diet) and 0.016 mGy/day (near diet); the average internal absorbed dose was approximately 0.82 mGy/day. Pupal wing structure is sensitive to radiation exposure. However, no significant differences were observed in the wing-to-whole body ratio of pupae between the 137CsCl-exposure and control groups. These results suggest that silkworms are insensitive to low dose-rate exposure due to chronic ingestion of high 137Cs at a high concentration.
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