Moth Facts



  • Like butterflies, moths belong to the insect group Lepidoptera.
  • Most moths have fat, hairy bodies, and feathery or thread-like antennae.
  • Many moths fly at dusk or at night. By day, they rest on tree trunks and in leaf litter, where their drab color makes them hard for predators such as birds to spot. However, there are also many brightly colored day-flying moths.
  • Tiger moths give out high-pitched clicks to warn that they taste bad and so escape being eaten.
  • The biggest moths are the Hercules moth and the bent wing ghost moth of Asia, with wingspans of over 25 cm.
  • Night-flying moths shiver their wings to warm them up for flight.
  • Hawk moths are powerful fliers and migrate long distances. The oleander hawk moth flies from tropical Africa to far northern
  • Europe in summer. The caterpillars of small moths live in seeds, fruit, stems and leaves, eating them from the inside.
  • The caterpillars of large moths feed on leaves from the outside, chewing chunks out of them.
  • When threatened, the caterpillar of the puss moth rears up, thrusts its whip-like tail forward, and squirts a jet of formic acid from its head end. Every caterpillar spins silk, but the cloth silk comes from the caterpillar of the white Bombyx mori moth, known as the silkworm.