Magical Moths

When most people think of moths they think of them as drab and boring relatives of butterflies that fly around at night. I have to say I was guilty of this mindset myself until very recently when I began to discover the amazing diversity of moths in Thailand.

Before I start,  i’d like to differentiate them from their more famous relatives.To describe a moth I guess you’d have to begin with their closest relatives, the butterflies which most people are familiar with.

Moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) share many similar features like:

> They have scales on their wings, body and proboscis and the colouration of these scales and they way they catch the light is what gives them such a wonderful array of colours.

>They have membranous wings, (wings that have soft membranes between the veins of their wings)

> They both have a remarkable  sucking mouthparts called proboscis which are actually incredibly complex. Read more here –> Complexities of the Butterfly Proboscis

> They both famously undergo a complete metamorphosis from egg – larvae – pupa – adult (not uncommon in insects but probably best known in lepidoptera)

There are a few key differences between butterflies and moths though….

> Moths normally have more robust bodies that are usually covered in hair.

> Their antennae are usually feathery unlike butterflies which are straight with a clubbed end.

> When they perch they rest their wings flat. Moths are for the majority nocturnal and have a more drab colouration than their relatives but this isn’t always the case.

Here are some of the moths that I have seen in Thailand and I’d say that quite a few of them give the butterflies a run for their money in terms of their beauty.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Tropical Swallowtail Moth (Lyssa zampa)
whm
(Leucoma sp.)

gm

mth 1

m
(Dysphania militaris)
arc1
(Euplocia membliaria)

wm

 

033
Oleander Hawk Moth (Daphnis nerii )
(moth2)Tetragonus catamitus
(Tetragonus catamitus)
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Golden Emperor Moth (Loepa cf. sikkima)
mt
(Unidentified)
bm
(Unidentified)
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(Lygnoides endoleucus)
mo2
(Celerena signata)

After doing some research  I have realised just how diverse the moth family is with 160,000 species of moths in the world compared to only 17,500 species of butterfly and many moth species have yet to be described/discovered. So keep your eyes peeled there’s plenty of amazing moths all over the world waiting to be seen and appreciated.

 

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3 thoughts on “Magical Moths

  1. Fantastic post! I share your sentiment completely. I can’t even chose a favourite… The golden emperor, and the grey one with the orange, just stunning! The first one looks like a bat, very impressive.

    Like

    1. The Tropical Swallowtail Moths are really bat like they’re so big and their almost laboured flight makes them look just like bats as the fly through the forest. They also have a habit of landing upside down underneath leaves to complete their bat like image.

      Liked by 1 person

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