"Any of various usually nocturnal lepidopteran insects with antennae that are often feathery, with a stouter body, duller coloring, and proportionately smaller wings than the butterflies, and with larvae that are plant-eating caterpillars" (Merriam-Webster)
There are approximately 160,000 species of moth that exist today, but a large majority of those are yet to be fully documented or described, leaving this area of Lepidoptera with much more to the imagination.
- The proboscis, similar to a tongue, is used for the consumption of food. A;though most moths do not feed as adults, many consume moisture and nectar instead.
- The size of a moth's compound eye varies drastically between species depending upon the importance.
- The thorax, which contains the leg and wing muscles, is composed of three segments: prothorax, mesothorax, and metathorax.
- Veins have many functions, among them oxygen exchange and support of the wing.
- Size and complexity of antennae differs according to species, but all are used to detect smell, food, and pheromones.
- While moths do not necessarily have ears as we do, they do have hearing organs on their thorax at the base of their wings. It is still uncertain exactly how sensitive these organs are.
Surprise Elements of the Moth
- Although their larvae consume leaves and shrubbery, many adult moths don't eat. The Luna moth is born without a moth, and never drinks or eats.
- There are over 11,000 species of moth in the U.S.A. alone.
- The Cecropia Moth is North America's largest insect, out of all species and orders.
- Using their antennae, an adult male moth can detect a female from more than 7 miles away.
- In contrast to the small percentage of butterflies within Lepidoptera, moths make up 80% of the order alone.
- While many are aware of the lengthy Monarch migration, it is less well-known that moths can migrate as well. It is believed that they instinctively choose to travel over smaller distances.