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Jul. 24, 2013

Happy National Moth Week!

by The Bug Chicks

Click to enlarge images
When most people think about moths, they focus on aspects like how they can eat holes in your sweaters and the way they flutter around your porch light at night. But there is so much more to these insects! And that's where National Moth Week comes in.
 
National Moth Week (the last full week in July) was started to highlight the important role of moths in nature. They're an incredibly diverse group of insects, from their form and function to their habitat. To help illustrate this, we often give our workshop-goers a "homework" assignment: Go outside in the evening, flick on the porch light, and wait quietly to see what arrives. You would be surprised at the variety of moths you can find!
 
A side note: There are a lot of generalizations (and misinformation) out there concerning the way to tell butterflies from moths. One sure-fire way to distinguish between them is to look at the antennae. Butterflies have capitate antennae, which means the tips of the antennae have little balls or "caps" at the end, or they're thickened. Moths have antennae that are straight (no caps), curly, or plumose (feathery). Fun fact: Only the males of some moth species have plumose antennae.
 
There are moth-related celebrations and events all over the world. You can find out where and when many events are taking place through the National Moth Week website. You can also become a citizen scientist and contribute photographs of moths that you see to the National Moth Week Mission through Project Noah. It's a great way to get involved in documenting the moth diversity through photography.
 
Learn more about moths and other lepidopterans in our video below!

 
This video was made for Texas A&M University Department of Entomology.
About The Bug Chicks

Kristie Reddick and Jessica Honaker are The Bug Chicks. They each have Masters Degrees in Entomology and love to teach people about insects and spiders.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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