Mia Schillace Nelson
It's Moth Week! Let's Celebrate!
Butterflies and moths belong to a group of insects scientists call Lepidoptera, which means “scaly wings” in Latin.
The importance and impact of moths cannot be underestimated. There are many more species of moths as compared to butterflies…worldwide there are about 160,000 species of Lepidoptera, but only about 17,500 of those are butterflies!
In the United States and Canada, there are currently about 12,000 known moth species, and around 825 butterflies, with new species still to be discovered.
So why do we spend so much time talking about butterflies and not moths? Well, for one thing, butterflies are active during the day and are easy to observe. While some moths are day flyers, most are active at night and harder to watch.
The sheer number of moth species tells us that moths are an important part of any food web or ecosystem in which they live. And far from being dull and boring, moths show an amazing ability to camouflage into their surroundings, or to display bright colors and markings.
While pupae (or caterpillars) of both butterflies and moths can be harmful to crops and considered pests by humans, they can also serve an important function: food for the multitudes of baby birds each spring. And just look at THOSE markings!
This week is as good a time as any to linger under a lamp post after dark, wander through your own night garden, or check out these gorgeous pics of moths from the comfort of your couch.