Group of mostly-nocturnal insects in the order Lepidoptera

Moths are a paraphyletic group of insects that includes all members of the order Lepidoptera that are not butterflies, with moths making up the huge majority of the orderliness. There are thought to be approximately 160,000 species of moth, [ 1 ] many of which have yet to be described. Most species of moth are nocturnal, but there are besides crepuscular and diurnal species .

Differences between butterflies and moths

Basic moth recognition features

While the butterflies form a monophyletic group, the moths, comprising the respite of the Lepidoptera, do not. many attempts have been made to group the superfamilies of the Lepidoptera into natural groups, most of which fail because one of the two groups is not monophyletic : Microlepidoptera and Macrolepidoptera, Heterocera and Rhopalocera, Jugatae and Frenatae, Monotrysia and Ditrysia. [ 2 ] Although the rules for distinguishing moths from butterflies are not well established, one identical good directing principle is that butterflies have thinly antenna and ( with the exception of the family Hedylidae ) have minor balls or clubs at the end of their antenna. Moth antennae are normally featherlike with no ball on the end. The divisions are named by this principle : “ club-antennae ” ( Rhopalocera ) or “ varied-antennae ” ( Heterocera ). Lepidoptera differs between butterflies and other organisms due to evolving a special characteristic of having the tube-like proboscis in the Middle Triassic which allowed them to acquire nectar from flowering plants. [ 3 ]


The mod English bible moth comes from Old English moððe ( cystic fibrosis. Northumbrian mohðe ) from Common Germanic ( compare Old Norse motti, Dutch mot, and german Motte all meaning ‘moth ‘ ). Its origins are possibly related to the Old English maða meaning ‘ maggot ‘ or from the root of midge which until the sixteenth century was used by and large to indicate the larva, normally in reference to devouring clothes .


Moth larva, or caterpillars, make cocoons from which they emerge as fully adult moths with wings. Some moth caterpillars dig holes in the grind, where they live until they are fix to turn into pornographic moths. [ 4 ]


Moths evolved hanker before butterflies ; moth fossils have been found that may be 190 million years previous. Both types of Lepidoptera are thought to have co-evolved with flowering plants, chiefly because most modern species, both as adults and larva, feed on flowering plants. One of the earliest know species that is thought to be an ancestor of moths is Archaeolepis mane. Its fossil fragments show scale wings that are like to caddisflies in their vein. [ 5 ] Moth from Kerala, India


significance to humans

Thaumetopoea pityocampa). This species is a serious forest pest when in its larval state. Notice the bristle springing from the underside of the hindwing ( An pornographic male pine processionary moth ( ). This species is a unplayful afforest pest when in its larval state of matter. Notice the bristle springing from the bottom of the hindwing ( frenulum ) and running ahead to be held in a small catch of the forewing, whose function is to link the wings together. Some moths, particularly their caterpillars, can be major agrarian pests in many parts of the world. Examples include corn borers and bollworms. [ 6 ] The caterpillar of the spongy moth ( Lymantria dispar ) causes severe damage to forests in the northeastern United States, where it is an invasive species. In temperate climates, the codling moth causes across-the-board damage, specially to fruit farms. In tropical and subtropical climates, the diamondback moth ( Plutella xylostella ) is possibly the most serious pest of brassicaceous crops. besides in sub-saharan Africa, the African sugarcane bore bit is a major plague of sugarcane, maize, and sorghum. [ 7 ] respective moths in the class Tineidae are normally regarded as pests because their larva eat fabric such as clothes and blankets made from natural proteinaceous fibers such as wool or silk. [ 8 ] They are less likely to eat mix materials containing some artificial fibers. There are some reports that they may be repelled by the scent of wood from juniper and cedar, by lavender, or by other natural oils ; however, many consider this improbable to prevent infestation. Naphthalene ( the chemical used in mothballs ) is considered more effective, but there are concerns over its effects on human health. Moth larva may be killed by freezing the items which they infest for respective days at a temperature below −8 °C ( 18 °F ). [ 9 ] While moths are ill-famed for eating clothe, most species do not, and some moth adults do not even eat at all. Some, like the Luna, Polyphemus, Atlas, Promethea, cecropia, and other big moths do not have mouth parts. This is possible because they live off the food stores from when they were a caterpillar, and only live a short time as an adult ( roughly a week for some species ). [ 10 ] Many species of adult moths do however eat : for example, many will drink ambrosia. [ 8 ] Some moths are farmed for their economic value. The most celebrated of these is the silkworm, the larva of the domesticated moth Bombyx mori. It is farmed for the silk with which it builds its cocoon. As of 2002, the silk diligence produces more than 130 million kilograms of crude silk, worth about 250 million U.S. dollars, each year. [ 11 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] not all silk is produced by Bombyx mori. There are several species of Saturniidae that besides are farmed for their silk, such as the ailanthus moth ( Samia cynthia group of species ), the chinese oak silkmoth ( Antheraea pernyi ), the Assam silkmoth ( Antheraea assamensis ), and the japanese silk moth ( Antheraea yamamai ). The larva of many species are used as food, particularly in Africa, where they are an crucial generator of nutrition. The mopane worm, the caterpillar of Gonimbrasia belina, from the class Saturniidae, is a significant food resource in southerly Africa. Another saturniid used as food is the cavorting emperor ( Usta terpsichore ). In one country alone, Congo, more than 30 species of moth larvae are harvested. Some are sold not only in the local village markets, but are shipped by the short ton from one country to another. [ 14 ]

Predators and parasites

nocturnal insectivores much feed on moths ; these include some bats, some species of owl and other species of birds. Moths besides are eaten by some species of lizards, amphibians, cats, dogs, rodents, and some bears. Moth larva are vulnerable to being parasitized by Ichneumonidae. Baculoviruses are leech double-stranded DNA worm viruses that are used by and large as biological control agents. They are members of the Baculoviridae, a family that is restricted to insects. Most baculovirus isolates have been obtained from insects, in particular from Lepidoptera. There is evidence that sonography in the range emitted by bats causes flying moths to make evasive maneuvers. supersonic frequencies trigger a automatic action in the noctuid moth moth that causes it to drop a few centimeters or inches in its flight to evade attack, [ 15 ] and tiger moths can emit clicks to foil bats ‘ echolocation. [ 16 ] [ 17 ] The fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis infects the larva of many unlike species of moths. [ 18 ]

ecological importance

Some studies indicate that certain species of moths, such as those belonging to the families Erebidae and Sphingidae, may be the cardinal pollinators for some unfolding plants in the Himalayan ecosystem. [ 19 ] [ 20 ] Recent studies have established that moths are important, but much overlooked, nocturnal pollinators of a wide-eyed scope of plants. [ 21 ] [ 22 ] [ 23 ] [ 24 ]

attraction to light

classify moths in the University of Texas Insect Collection Moths frequently appear to circle artificial lights, although the reason for this demeanor ( cocksure phototaxis ) is presently obscure. One guess is called celestial or cross orientation. By maintaining a constant angular relationship to a bright celestial light, such as the moon, they can fly in a straight line. celestial objects are thus far away that, even after travelling great distances, the change in slant between the moth and the inner light source is negligible ; further, the lunar month will constantly be in the upper part of the ocular field, or on the horizon. When a moth encounters a much closer artificial clean and uses it for navigation, the fish changes perceptibly after alone a short distance, in addition to being much below the horizon. The moth instinctively attempts to correct by turning toward the light, thereby causing airborne moths to come plummeting down, and resulting in a spiral flight way that gets closer and closer to the light source. [ 25 ] Studies have found that light contamination caused by increasing use of artificial lights has either led to a severe refuse in moth population in some parts of the worldly concern [ 26 ] [ 27 ] [ 28 ] or has sternly disrupted nocturnal pollination. [ 29 ] [ 30 ]

noteworthy moths

Moths of economic significance


See besides