From ovaries dissected from developing and emerged adults of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, two substances having high molting hormone activity were isolated. One of these was identified as 2-deoxy-alpha-ecdysone by means of high-pressure liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Although this compound had previously been isolated from the fern Blechnum minus and postulated to be the precursor of alpha-ecdysone, it had not been obtained from insect material. The compound is also contained in the form of a conjugate in ovaries as well as in diapausing silkworm embryos.