Crazy Tiny Insects: Crazy Cool Moths (Again.)

I love moths as much as I love butterflies, I think, only they’re… hmmm. I’d say about 20x as difficult to spot. So many people have these crazy beautiful ones literally bumping into their front doors with a wave of brightly colored wings, saying, ‘Hey! Take a picture of me!’ and despite living, quite literally, in a rainforest, that just doesn’t seem to happen. Once, I think. Yup– once. Maybe for another CTI I’ll dig up the pictures, because that encounter was crazy weird.

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Now this moth is beautiful.

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We found it sitting on our dining room table in Bangalore. There are approximately 10,000 different moth species found in India– imagine! The sizes range from very, very, small to the beautiful Atlas and Luna moths. And then there are some gems in between– in proof, above. Moths differ from butterflies by their antennae. Butterflies’ are clubbed: at the tip, there’s a kind of roundish-ballish-thing which moths lack distinctively. Most species are nocturnal, but ‘most’ isn’t a hard and fast rule; in an earlier CTI I mentioned the Common Wasp Moth, a distinctively diurnal species.

The word ‘moth’ itself is quite derogatory to a frankly beautiful group of insects: tracing a long and complicated lineage through words like ‘motti’ and ‘moððe’ we end up at a possible ‘maða’, meaning maggot, which is also the root of midge, usually used in reference to moths’ cloth-devouring properties. But I’m sure these creatures don’t bear a grudge: having evolved possibly up to 190 million years ago, much older than butterflies, they must have had a) enough time to hear all the insults possible and b) enough time to refute all these insults with the evolution of stunning species like the one above.

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