A moth is an insect often confused with a butterfly and belongs to the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order and consist of over 150,000 to 250,000 different species. In general, moths are nocturnal with traces of crepuscular and diurnal species among them. The scientific name for a moth is “Heterocera” and their study is known as “lepidoptery”. Moths and especially their caterpillars are regarded as agricultural pests and cause extensive damage to crops. Larvae of few moths are regarded as common pests since they feed on fabric made out of natural fibers such as wool or silk. However, there are also a bunch of moths which are economically significant. The most notable among them being the silkworm, which is the larva of a domesticated moth called Bombyx Mori. It is cultivated for the silk with which it weaves its own cocoon. The caterpillar form of another moth, known as Gonimbrasia Africa, is a significant source of food in parts of South Africa, despite of it being notorious for devouring crops and fabrics. An interesting feature that should be noted is that most moth adults do not eat at all, since they do not have mouths. This article gives you a glimpse of the major moths found in our fauna world.
Different Kinds Of Moths
This moth is considered to be the largest in the world and is commonly found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago. Its etymological origin can be traced from either the Titan of Greek mythology or its map-like wing patterns. An atlas moth is mostly tawny to maroon in color with triangular eyes located on both its forewing and hind wing. Its body is hairy and disproportionately small compared to its wings. Neither the male nor the female possesses a fully-formed mouth part and thus does not feed. In its 1-2 week duration of adult life, it survives on the fat reserved in the body gained by it during the days it was a caterpillar.
This lime green colored moth is generally found in the North American continent. The number of generations produced by this moth varies according to the climate in which it lives. While luna moths staying in Canada and other northern regions produce only one generation per year, those residing in northeastern United States or New York produce two generations per year. A female luna moth lays 100-300 eggs, generally on the under surface of leaves and incubates for 8-13 days. Once in its larva form, the caterpillar undergoes several molts before changing into a moth. The luna moth pupates in around two weeks, but only after spinning a cocoon for itself, which is thin and single-layered. An adult luna moth emerges from its cocoon in the morning. It has a wingspan of 8-11.5 cm with long and tapering hind wings and eyespots on them in order to confuse the predators. It lives for approximately a week and its sole purpose to emerge into an adult is to mate.
This moth, with scientific name Lymantria dispar, has its origin in Eurasia and was introduced to North America in the late 1860s. Also known as the Asian gypsy moth, it has been expanding its range ever since. A gypsy moth lays its eggs in a sheltered location, preferably on the branches and trunks of trees. After around four-six weeks of laying eggs, the embryos develop into larvae. It is usually between early springs to mid-may that the caterpillars emerge from the egg masses. The larvae pass through a series of molts before entering the pupa stage or the period during which larvae change into their adults or moths. Pupation generally lasts from 7-14 days. An adult gypsy moth is seen to fly all day and night with the possible exception of late morning. They are in their most active state after dusk until the wee hours of the night.
A silkworm is the larva form or caterpillar of the domesticated silk moth or Bombyx Mori. It has immense economic significance since it produces silk. It generally feeds on white mulberry leaves and depends on humans for its reproductive process and unlike its other counterparts, does not naturally grow in the wild. The process of cultivation of silkworm is known as sericulture and has been practiced in China, Korea aand Japan for 5,000 years or so. An egg of silk moth takes about 14 days to hatch into larvae. The larvae enclose themselves in cocoons of raw silk produced in the salivary glands. The cocoon is made up of threads of raw silk fibers which are fine and lustrous and 300-900 meters long. Around 2000-3000 cocoons make a pound of silk which is not just used by the fabric industry for clothing, but also the medical industry. The adult phase of silk moth cannot fly. It has a wing span of 3-5 cm with a white hairy body and reduced mouth parts.
Other Types Of Moths include:
White Witch moth or Thysania Agrippina is said to have the biggest wingspan.
Madagascan Sunset moth or Chrysiridia rhipheus is considered to be one of the most impressive and beautiful in the Lepidoptera family.
Death's-head hawk moth is associated with the supernatural and evil and has been featured in art and movies occasionally.
Peppered moth or Biston betularia is the subject of a well-known study in evolution.
Bogong moth or Agrotis infusa is known to be a food source for Southeastern indigenous Australians.
Corn earworm or cotton bollworm is a major agricultural pest.
Codling moth or Cydia pomonella is a pest mostly of apple, pear and walnut trees.