Why Moths?

Myths About Moths Part 2

Some more of the common myths about moths.
Swallow-tailed Moth

The Stunning Swallow-tailed Moth as large and beautiful as our butterflies
3. Moths are Scary Creatures of the Night. Whilst most of our moths are largely nocturnal, a significant number of moth species are actually more active by day. In fact some of our day-flying moths are as, if not more attractive than most of our butterflies. Being nocturnal does not make our moths sinister. They are utilising their ecological niche, feeding on nectar when the bees and butterflies are roosting, whilst also avoiding the day time predators, especially birds.

4. Moths are stupid as they keep flying into lights. Our nocturnal moths have evolved to live in a night time world without artificial lights. To navigate through this darkness moths use the light of the moon and stars. There are several theories as why this, but as yet we do not definitively know why. Some consider that by keeping the moon to one side as it flies, in a method called transverse orientation. Recent research suggests that moths and other insects keep the primary light source, for example the sun or moon to their backs to ensure level flight. No matter how far the moth flies it will never reach that natural light source. For moths, our artificial light sources act as small, but very bright moons. As the moth tries to keep the light in the correct place, it ends up circling the bulb in ever decreasing circles, until finally it comes head on with the reality of our modern world.

5. Moths are small, brown & boring. Moths come in a range of sizes from only a few millimetres to sizes similar to our butterflies. Equally moths come in a wide range of colours and patterns. In fact some of our moths are even more brightly and ornately patterned than our butterflies.

Scarce Crimson and Gold
The Scarce Crimson and Gold may be small, but it is certainly not brown and boring.

Many of those moth which are not vividly coloured are no less beautiful or amazing. Moths which rest by day are required to be masters of camouflage, if they are to survive daytime predators. Subtle colours and patterns allow the moth to disappear into it’s chosen background, hiding in plain sight.
The Buff-tip is not particularly colourful, but it's intricate markings which mimic broken twigs is amazing camouflage.
The Buff-tip is not particularly colourful, but it's intricate markings which mimic broken twigs is amazing camouflage.