Moths have a bad reputation as sweater-eaters and “ugly” butterflies. In fact, the irrational fear of moths is called mottephobia. These fears and dislikes of moths, however, are pretty unjustified. In fact, out of the 2,500 species of moth that call the UK home, only two will eat your sweater. Two species of moth bring on the harsh judgement for all of moth-kind.
Moths are actually incredibly important members of our world for many reasons. As pollinators, moths are some of the most prolific. They are second to only bees in their ability to pollinate a variety of plant species. In North America, for example, moths are an integral part of pollination for cacti and milkweed (the favorite plant of Monarch butterflies). They are important in this function on every continent, but Antarctica, which is a little cold for the moth’s liking.
Moths also provide a tasty snack for many other important species of animal. Bats and birds both love to eat moths. Some bat diets are primarily made up by moths, and the world would be a sad place without bats! Not to mention, one species of moth is the whole reason we have silk! The caterpillar of the Bombyx mori, or Silkmoth, produce the threads that we then spin into silk. Thank you moths!
And if you actually believed that moths are really only “ugly” butterflies, you are gravely mistaken. Moths come in an incredible variety of shapes and colors. You may have even mistaken a moth for a butterfly at some point. So the next time you see a moth fluttering around your outdoor light, don’t fret! Moths are amazing (and misunderstood) creatures we should all appreciate.
Image source: Frode Falkenberg/Flickr