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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Moth

SPECIES 

There are thought to be approximately 160,000 species of moth, which is nine times as many as species of butterfly.

The ancient Chinese co-opted an indigenous silk moth for their purposes. The Bombyx mori is still the only insect to have been fully domesticated (in the sense that, unlike the bee, it cannot live in the wild and is not known in a wild form). The silk moth has lost the power to fly; its caterpillar can find no mulberry leaves for itself. The species exists, and survives, only because humans like silk.

Adult silkworm moth. By CSIRO, Wikipedia Commons

A male silkworm moth can smell a female more than seven miles away.

Paired male (above), female (below) silk moths. By Oakenking at en.wikipedia, 

Bats like to eat moths, so there is a species of tiger moth that has developed ultrasonic clicking sounds that jam a bat's echo-location.

Eubetia bigaulae is a Venezuelan moth named by Smithsonian entomologist John Brown. Its species is pronounced "you betcha by golly."

The world's largest moth, the Atlas moth of Southeast Asia, can reach up to 12 inches with a surface area of 62 square inches.

ANATOMY 

Moths can be told apart from butterflies in several ways. Moth antenna look like little feathers, and their wings are held flat on their backs when they are not flying.

Many moths have no mouths and do not eat. They live for a week, during which they mate and lay eggs.

Moths have the best hearing in the animal kingdom. They are are able to hear frequencies a hundred times higher than what humans can voice.

The moth has the ability to hear a higher frequency than their main predator, the bat, allowing them to escape before they can be attacked.

The Lygodium Spider Moth has markings to make it look like a spider to scare predators.

Some moths can fly 25 miles per hour.


BEHAVIOR 

Moths are highly attracted by beer, ale and lager.

Moths are more likely to lay their eggs on, feed on, and rest on the plant species where they lost their virginity.

According to research published in 2002, female moths prefer to mate with larger males, especially if the female had a large father.

In 2008, research showed that some moths can remember things they learnt as caterpillars.

A caterpillar of death's-head hawkmoth. By Irshadpp - Wikipedia Commons

FUN FACTS 

As a pastime, watching moths is known as mothing, which has given rise to the term "mother" for someone who engages in this activity. It is sometimes written with a hyphen (moth-er) to distinguish it from the more common word of the same spelling.


On September 9, 1947, a failure in an early computer at Harvard University was traced to a moth trapped in a relay. This is said to be the origin of programming errors being called "bugs". Actually the term "bug" had long been used for inexplicable engineering defects but the Harvard moth was the first bug caused by a real bug.

A page from the Harvard computer's log, featuring a dead moth that was removed from the device

Sources Historyworld.net, Daily Express

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