ETYM Old Eng. mothe, AS. moththe; akin to Dutch mot, German motte, Icel. motti, and prob. to Eng. mad an earthworm. Related to Mad, Mawk.
Typically crepuscular or nocturnal insect having a stout body and feathery or hairlike antennae.
Any of the various families of mainly night-flying insects of the order Lepidoptera, which also includes the butterflies. Their wings are covered with microscopic scales. The mouthparts are formed into a sucking proboscis, but certain moths have no functional mouthparts, and rely upon stores of fat and other reserves built up during the caterpillar stage. At least 100,000 different species of moth are known.
Moths feed chiefly on the nectar of flowers, and other fluid matter; some, like the hawk moths, frequent flowers and feed while hovering. The females of some species (such as bagworm moths) have wings either absent or reduced to minute flaps. Moths vary greatly in size. In many cases the males are smaller and more brightly colored than the females.
The minute Nepticulidae sometimes have a wingspread less than 3 mm/0.1 in, while the giant Noctuid or owlet moth Erebus agrippina measures about 280 mm/11 in across.
The larvae (caterpillars) have a well-developed head and three thoracic and ten abdominal segments. Each thoracic segment bears a pair of short legs, ending in single claws; a pair of suckerlike abdominal feet is present on segments three to six and ten of the hind-body. In the family Geometridae the caterpillars bear the abdominal feet only on segments six and ten of the hind body. They move by a characteristic looping gait and are known as “loopers”,“inchworms”, or geometers. Projecting from the middle of the lower lip of a caterpillar is a minute tube or spinneret, through which silk is emitted to make a cocoon within which the change to the pupa or chrysalis occurs. Silk glands are especially large in the silkworm moth. Many caterpillars, including the geometers, which are sought by birds, are protected by their resemblance in both form and coloration to their immediate surroundings. Others, which are distasteful to such enemies, are brightly colored or densely hairy.
The feeding caterpillars of many moths cause damage: the codling moth, for example, attacks fruit trees; and several species of clothes moth eat natural fibers.
The corn earworm moth infests corn. The largest North American moths are the cecropia moth and polyphemus moth with wingspreads up to 14 cm/5.5 in.
Štetni leptirić čije gusenice nagrizaju vunu, krzno i dr.