Site about the fight against domestic insects

Why do moths lack a proboscis - is not it a butterfly?

Моль - тоже бабочка, но вот почему у нее отсутствует хоботок

Practically all the moths of the proboscis do not really have. But this does not mean that the moth is not a butterfly. But why moths do not have a proboscis - the question is really interesting, and biological evolutionists who are well versed in the features of biology and vital activity of these insects can answer it.

Proboscis is an organ that is absent as superfluous

Proboscis needs butterflies in order to normally eat nectar flowers - it is with the help of this organ that an insect can reach to deeply hidden aromatic nectaries in plants. The vast majority of butterflies eat just such food.

С помощью хоботка бабочка добывает нектар

It is interesting

Despite the adaptability of butterflies to nectar feeding flowers, there are among them also species whose food preferences do not at all correspond to the "image" of these insects. For example, butterflies are known to eat on the feces and carcasses of animals (by the way, among them there are the largest and most beautiful butterflies of the world), and there are even butterfly vampires. They can attack a person by piercing the skin with a proboscis and sucking out a few drops of blood.

But among all the variety of butterflies, 2,000 species of moths stand apart: they do not eat at all in the adult state. They do not cornyly need any proboscis, nor any other organs of eating. This is the answer to the question of why there is no proboscis in moths.

In addition to the mouthpiece, many moles in the adult state lack digestive organs (more precisely, they are underdeveloped). The task of adult moths is to mate and lay eggs, and therefore they live only at the expense of nutrients, which accumulate in the larval stage.

It is the moth caterpillar that is the pest that neatly cuts the fur on the coats in the closet, gnaws holes on sweaters and furniture upholstery, spoils dry cereals and other food products in kitchens and closets. The caterpillar has a powerful gnawing apparatus, before which even the corn croup and semi-synthetic tissues can not stand.

У гусениц моли имеется мощный грызущий аппарат, поэтому именно они, а не бабочки моли повреждают продукты и вещи

On a note

Contrary to popular belief, the mole does not destroy things from synthetic tissue. The larva can eat tissues containing some synthetic material, and some - natural materials, but they grow on such a diet more slowly than those that feed on natural wool or fur.

In some types of moth, the gnawing apparatus remains in the adult stage. However, this does not mean that butterflies of these species can damage clothes - they are less evolutionarily mature and have not completely lost their nutrition.

Фото бабочки моли

Moth butterfly, as a rule, does not last very long - from several days to several weeks. In this case, females try to move as little as possible, and males fly only at night. This provides a certain safety for these insects, relatively poorly flying and not able to deter predators. But there are no dangerous insects among moths.

Does the mole bite?

It can be unequivocally said that the moth does not bite. Even moth larvae with their powerful gnawing mandibles will not be able to bite a person: their jaws are too small to bite our skin. Yes, and do not need this moths at any stage of development - the nutrient will not get anything from a person, but it can not protect itself with jaws.

The myth that the moth bites, appeared in those houses where butterflies-pests constantly swarm under the ceiling, and mosquitoes sit on the corners. Butterflies are conspicuous, and mosquitoes bite, and the inhabitant of an apartment unconnected in biology connects this picture together: he is bitten by those he sees. It creates the wrong impression that butterflies bite, although they have sucking proboscis and are completely absent.

Хотя бабочки и доставляют некоторые неудобства, слетаясь на свет лампы, они не способны никого укусить

On a note

Famous to the whole world, vampire butterflies do not belong to moths. Those bloodsucking butterflies that were found in Siberia belong to the family of scoops, in the same family there are tropical species that can pierce even the thick buffalo skin with their proboscis.

Moth like a real butterfly

Otherwise, the moth is a typical butterfly, with butterfly-like device of wings, methods of visual and chemical communication, and seasonal biorhythms.

The absence of the proboscis in moths can be primary and secondary:

  • in primary toothed moths, the gnawing apparatus of adult butterflies was inherited from their ancestors
  • Butterfly moths of the second type had a mouthpiece in the past, but they lost it, ceasing to eat in the adult stage. It is to the second type that all domestic pests belong.

The pronounced difference between a caterpillar and a butterfly is a very wise course of nature and evolution. At different stages of development, individuals of the same species practically do not meet with each other and do not create one another food competition. This increases the chances of survival of this species.

Moles living in the wild have a clear chronological cycle of development: the caterpillar develops on organic remains, in nests of mammals and birds, feeding on feathers and wool, in the ears of cereals throughout the warm period of the year. At the end of summer or in the autumn caterpillars pupate, and then butterflies appear from pupae, laying eggs. It is eggs that hibernate, and in the spring, with the appearance of food, larvae appear from them.

На фото - гусеница моли и ее чехол

Those representatives of the family that live in the tropics or in human homes, similar to the seasonality of development, do not differ. They have a process of reproduction and development without binding to the season, with the speed that the fodder base allows.


"Near the house I never paid attention to such a gray butterfly like a great moth. Well, they swarm themselves, and swarm around the lamp at night. Only then they explained to me that it is this butterfly that caterpillars injure cabbage. In short - this cabbage scoop. That's when I started knocking a fly swatter near the lamp. "

Alexander, Privolnoye

Moth caterpillar and her mouthpiece

In the structure of the caterpillar, moths are all adapted to eat and gain weight as quickly as possible. In fact, it is a universal consumer of edible raw materials and a powerful processing factory.

One caterpillar of an ordinary butterfly (not moths) can consume a day of food several times more by weight than it weighs itself. For moth caterpillars this is not typical - their food is rude enough, and they eat less. Accordingly, they grow more slowly than caterpillars of other species.

Like the other butterfly caterpillars, the mouthpiece of the moth-gnawing caterpillar type consists of two mandibles with incisors on each of them, which effectively bites tissue or hair fibers.

Ротовой аппарат грызущего типа позволяет гусеницам моли эффективно перегрызать волокна ткани

It is interesting

There are moths whose caterpillars live in the horns of African antelopes and feed on keratin - a substance from which the horns, in fact, are composed. And in other moths, the larvae feed on wax in the hives of bees (the so-called wax moth or firefly ).

In most species of domestic moth caterpillars are very similar in appearance. They have a light body with a yellowish or pinkish tinge and a contrastingly brown head. Their larvae are similar to all known caterpillars of apple fescue.

In general, different types of moths are recognized as pests, and they harm not only clothes or food products, but also trees, bushes and fungi. But these butterflies are not an immediate danger to humans.

If you decide to fight the moth yourself, then we recommend using only proven tools that have shown their high efficiency:

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