It is often confusing for humans to differentiate between a moth and a butterfly. The kids get the most confused in this matter. They should have some knowledge about the two look-alike insects.
We have listed some interesting moth facts for kids in this article that will help you to know more about them.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Moths for Kids
Moths are often destructive in nature. We have tried to list some engaging information about these insects here. Hope this is useful to you.
1. Moths are pollinators
We know that the bees and the butterflies play a major role in the pollination of flowers but moths play that role too. The moths such as geometer moths, owlet moths, and sphinx moths move among the flowers and help in the process.
There is a specific plant known as the yucca plant which requires only the yucca moths to cross-pollinate their flowers. The yucca moths possess special tentacles for gathering and scraping pollens from these yucca flowers.
The various kinds of night-blooming flowers depend on moths for pollination as well.
2. Moths have long tongues
Known as proboscis, these are the tongues that help them in sucking nectar and other liquid diets. While most of the moths do not eat much after transforming into a Moth as they take all the nutrients that they require in the larvae stage itself.
Those who do make use of this proboscis are known to have long ones. The Hummingbird Moth is known to have a proboscis longer than its entire body. But not all species have long tongues. In some species, they are short as well, depending on the habitat and adaptation.
3. The self-defence techniques
Moths and their caterpillars provide a great deal of protein to the predators that feed on them. To protect themselves, moths have adapted various camouflage techniques. They adopt the looks of their surroundings such as the bark of trees.
Some might look like lichens whereas, in the polluted human habitats, they might develop darker shades of colors. The lines and spots on their bodies also make it difficult for the predators to aim for them.
They also adapt ‘mimicry’ to appear like larger and dangerous creatures than they actually are to scare away the predators.
4. The visual sense of the moths
The moths have both compound and simple eyes similar to most insects. These eyes contain many lenses that help in focusing light from different objects. The information is then passed to the brain by the optic nerve.
They have the capability of seeing ultraviolet colors as well, unlike humans. Their vision changes along with the different stages they grow into. The moths are nocturnal, which means their eyes are also adaptable to see in the darker hours.
5. They are destructive pests
Moths and their caterpillars are known for destroying a large number of agricultural crops worldwide. The gypsy moth and its caterpillar are known for causing major destruction in the forests of the northeastern United States.
The codling moth attacks the fruit farms in the temperate areas. And in the tropical and subtropical regions, the diamondback moth is known for destroying the mustard and cabbage crops.
Some of the caterpillars of these moth species that are found in houses are also known for causing damage to the clothes by eating them away.
Want to know some interesting fun facts about caterpillars, read our article here: 11 Amazing Caterpillar Facts for Kids
6. There are over 160,000 species of moths
The moths have over 160,000 species that are found across the world. They are highly adaptable and can be found in any region except for the poles. They prefer wooded areas but can also be found in urban settlements and inside human houses as well.
The smallest species found in the world is the Stigmella Maya and the largest species is the Atlas moth. Most of the species live for only a year on average. A few of them might live for 2 – 3 years as well.
7. The Vampire Moth is for real
There is a group of moths called Calyptra which is capable of drinking blood. Goes with the common name of the vampire moth, they have a habit of drinking blood from the vertebrates.
Recent studies suggest that they are also capable of drinking the blood of humans through their skin as well. Most adult moths do not eat or drink anything as they intake sufficient nutrients in the caterpillar stage to make it through their entire adult life.
The moth caterpillars majorly feed on the leaves and flowers of plants. Some of them also eat fruit and seeds as well.
8. The life cycle of the moths
Metamorphosis is the process through which moths are known to transform into their adult form. They change four times during their entire life cycle. They start from an egg which after hatching comes out the larvae or popularly known as the caterpillars.
The caterpillars then grow for a while and then transform into pupa. It is a hardcover inside which the caterpillar is constantly changing and finally emerges out as a Moth.
The eggs are majorly laid on a leaf and the pupa is often attached to a leaf or a twig. They can also be buried underground.
9. The males have a strong sense of smell
Moths smell through their highly sensitive antennae which have smelling receptors. They can smell things through chemoreception which is their ability to detect chemical cues.
The males have feathery antennae with a lot of surface area that allows them to sniff out the molecules in the air. The male silk moths are known to have the strongest sense of smell among the rest of the species.
10. There are migratory moths
There are Moth species that are known to migrate just like some of the butterfly species. As they are most active at night, they tend to fly to migrate during the night itself.
The reasons for their migration are to find a better food supply or to avoid harsh weather which is too hot or too dry for them to bear. The black cutworm Moth is the species that migrate to the Gulf Coast during the winters and spend the spring back in the North.
11. Moths are dangerous
Moths are dangerous in a human household. They pollute food items which can also be harmful to your pets. They leave behind eggs, faeces, and cocoons which causes irritations and allergic reactions to both humans and pet animals when comes in contact with their skin.
The polluted food causes infections in the intestines if consumed unknowingly. They spread rapidly and hence their population might create trouble. They are aggressive pests and can ruin your clothes and other household things.
The caterpillars of giant silkworms that are found in South America are lethal to humans.
Different Types of Moths
You might be shocked to know that there are more than 160,000 different species of moths found in the entire world. Here we are mentioning the most common of them with some little information about them. These are often found inside our homes and surroundings and often become pests.
- Luna Moth has lime green colored wings and a white body and is also known as American Moon Moth.
- Atlas Moth is found widely in Asian forests. It is one of the largest moths in the world.
- Indianmeal Moth got its name from the United States where it was discovered as a pest feeding on maize or Indian Corn.
- Gypsy Moth is known for having several subspecies such as the European gypsy moth, Asian gypsy moth, and Japanese gypsy moth.
- Peppered Moth is majorly found in Ireland and Britain. It is also known as Darwin’s Moth.
- Japanese Silk Moth is cultivated for its super strong and elastic white silk. It is native to East Asia but has been imported to European nations for silk production.
- Greater Wax Moth is also popular as honeycomb moth and belongs to the same family as that of the Indianmeal moth.
- Light Brown Apple Moth is native to the United States and is also known as a leaf-roller moth. They are particularly known to attack fruits like apples.
What is the difference between Moth and Butterfly?
Moths and Butterflies look-alike a great deal. They both belong to the class Lepidoptera and hence share many characteristics.
The moth species are far much larger than those of the butterflies. Humans often confuse them. But there are differences among them as well just like there are similarities. The common ones are listed here.
- Butterflies are large and more colorful than Moths which are smaller and have drab-colored wings.
- Butterflies are diurnal whereas Moths are nocturnal.
- Butterfly pupa is made of hard protein but Moths from silk pupa known as a cocoon.
- Butterflies are smooth and lean but Moths are stockier and furry.
- Butterflies rest with their wings closed and the Moths rest with their wings open.
If you are interested in knowing more about the colorful butterflies then you can refer to our article on them here – 11 Mind-Blowing Facts about Butterflies for Kids
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Moths do not eat after transforming into an adult. They take all the nutrients during their larvae stage.
The life span of an adult moth is between 75 – 80 days.
They are not able to fly when they get wet.
Moths are found nearly everywhere in the world. They prefer wooded areas.
The origin of their name lies in German and Dutch languages. The German “motte” and Dutch “mot” both mean a moth.
Most of the moth species are nocturnal and are active during the nighttime.
They have tiny hair or scales on their wings that shed off when touched or squished.
Most of the species are safe to touch but few species such as the Hickory Tussock Moth causes skin irritation and rashes.
Their vision is similar to that of the butterflies. They have compound and simple eyes and can see ultraviolet rays as well.
Presence of some particular lights, dark areas where they could lay eggs, unattended food items, and easy entry are some of the factors that might attract a moth into your house.
Yellow is the color that you are looking for to repel moths. If the moths are attracted to your white lights then replace them with yellow ones.
The Luna moth has fluorescent green wings that glow in the dark and the Owlet moth has eyes that shine when light is thrown on it.
They are nocturnal species and are well adapted to see in the dark as well.
Moths do possess brains with around one million nerve cells.
Moths are intelligent insects that can slow down their brain to see in the dark. They also adapt mimicking techniques for self-defense.
We hope that this article on moth facts for kids was helpful for you. Now you will be able to distinguish a moth from a butterfly the next time you see one.