Moths in North America
Moths in North America
While butterflies have always been interesting to me, its been very interesting to learn more about moths and the part they play in nature. They often aren't as beautiful as butterflies, but they have a definite purpose. There are some moths that are pests of course, but many are not and don't bother humans.
Basically, the butterflies are more colorful, and the moths are more dull colored. While butterflies fly mostly during the daytime hours when it is warmest, moths are nocturnal. They tend to fly at dusk and nighttime. Some night blooming flowers rely on moths to help them survive. Female moths will "call" male moths with pheromones. Males are very attracted to these pheromones, and thus the cycle continues on. Click on the link below, to see a great video about the amazing Luna Moth, a large light green moth in North America.
Some basic facts about moths
It is interesting to learn about moths, which like butterflies belong to the Order Lepidoptera. There are many more differences between moths and butterflies than just their color and when they are the most active. Moths tend to have feathery or feathered antennae (see the photos, the feathery parts of their antennae are fascinating very intricate in their design). Butterflies have more of a clubbed antennae.
Moths also have a frenulum and jugum which makes them unique in that regard as well. In the whole world, you will find over 100,000 different moth species! That is pretty amazing when you think about it. Really the number may be closer to 125,000 with 12,000 of those being in North America, north of Mexico. Moths have 4 wings, and are covered with scales. The wings are membranous, and while dull in pigmentation often, they are prismatic.
I was surprised to capture these pictures of these moths, as they are not usually seen during the days, and i worry they may have been injured or near death that they were out in the heat of the day. Still, it allows me to take their pictures and share them here with you.
Link to a great video on Luna Moths their life cycle and mating
© 2010 Paula
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