We’re celebrating National Moth Week by sharing some little-known facts about an insect we regularly see in our parks and gardens.

What’s the difference between a moth and a butterfly? First of all, there is so much more variety - 160,000 species of moths versus 11,000 species of butterflies. [Live Science]

While we sleep, moths are hard at work pollinating flowers and crops. Moths tend to prefer pale and light-coloured flowers that reflect the moonlight, making it easier for them to find the flowers in the dark. [Penn State Extension]

Moths have many talents. Some migrate in search of warmer weather or a better supply of food. Others can move very  quickly - the hawk moth can fly at up to 19 kilometres per hour. [Canadian Geographic]

Moths are nocturnal and are drawn to bright lights, circling them over and over again. The best way to protect moths from light pollution is to turn off outdoor lights and shade windows in lighted rooms at night. [Xerces]

Hawk Moths fly and move like hummingbirds and can be seen hovering in front of a flower while they unfurl their long tongue and insert it in the flower to sip the nectar. [Nature Companion]

Butterflies and moths have a keen sense of smell. Thousands of smell and taste receptors are located on their feet, mouthparts, and antennae. [EcoFriendly West]

Bats use ultrasonic pulses to detect moths, but not all moths are defenceless. Some emit ultrasonic signals of their own to startle bats and chase them away. [Florida Museum]

See Also

Gardens & Pollinators / Les Jardins et les Pollinisateurs [EcoFriendly West]

It’s Time to Show Mosquitoes a Little Love [EcoFriendly West]

Nature Companion, a free app/website introducing many of the plants and animals found in Canada's four western provinces [EcoFriendly West]

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apmckinlay/42992650941/

EcoFriendly West informs and encourages initiatives that support Western Canada’s natural environment through its online publication and the Nature Companion website/app. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Mastodon, or subscribe by email.