NATIONAL MOTH WEEK
National Moth Week during the last week in July recognizes the insect Order Lepidoptera. While moths share Lepidoptera with butterflies, there are nine times more species of moths than butterflies in the world.
One of the world’s largest moths is the Hercules Moth. With a wingspan of 27 centimeters (10.5 inches) and larger, this moth could cover the length of an official NFL football.
While the average lifespan of a moth varies depending on the species, the Hercules Moth lives between 2-8 days because they are unable to eat due to not having a proboscis. However, their caterpillars do eat. Their food of choice is the leaves of the bleeding heart tree. Once out of their cocoon, they live long enough to breed and then die a few days later. From New Guinea and Queensland, the Hercules moth is also known as the Atlas Moth.
One of the world’s smallest moths are the Enteucha acetosae. Their tiny wingspan of 3 millimeters (almost 1/10th of an inch!) hails from Britain. Considered a leaf-miner, the tiny moth lays its eggs in the underside of sorrel leaves. The larvae then eat the leaves in a mining pattern. While most leaf-miners are moths, other insects are leaf-miners, too.
While most moths are less colorful than their butterfly counterparts, some display unique and colorful patterns. Most moths are nocturnal, too, and gather nectar from blossoms. One fascinating day-flying moth is the Hummingbird Hawk-moth. It collects nectar through its long proboscis and flits around the blossoms, much like a hummingbird. In fact, at first glance, it is often mistaken for a hummingbird!
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalMothWeek
Explore the world of the moth. Read about moths or watch a documentary. Attend a moth event near you. Take photos of the moths in your world and share them on social media with #NationalMothWeek.
- Moths: A complete Guide to Biology and Behavior by David C. Lees
- Peterson Field Guide to Moths by David Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie
- World Encyclopedia of Butterflies and Moths: A Natural History
NATIONAL MOTH WEEK HISTORY
Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission founded National Moth Week in 2012 to raise awareness of moths and encourage more people to learn about moths and their identification.