A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. Moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth (about ten times the number of species of butterfly), with thousands of species yet to be described. Most species of moth are nocturnal, but there are crepuscular and diurnal species.
Stout-bodied and generally fast-flying moths, mostly with narrow, pointed forewings. A few have broader, scalloped wings and fly more slowly and many species are strong migrants.
These are mostly brightly coloured,day-flying moths with rather sluggish flight.Many species live in Europe,especially in the south. The Burnets have clubbed antennae,but the tip thickens more gradually than in the butterflies. The Foresters have toothed antennae.
The moths in this family are mostly rather stout and furry. Females are larger than males. Antennae are feathery in both sexes, but especially so in the males. Adults do not feed, the caterpillars are generally hairy and often coloured.
Collectively known as geometers, the moths in this very large family are rather flimsy and slender-bodied. The majority rest with wings held flat, sometimes covering the abdomen and sometimes held well out to the sides.A few species rest with wings held vertically over the the body like butterflies. The Larva, often known as loopers or inchworms have only 2 pairs of prolegs at the hind end, including the claspers. They move by alternatley streching the front end forward and then bringing the hind end up to it, throwing the body into a high loop in the process.
Sometimes known as owlet moths, or simply noctuids. The members of this large family are all nocturnal.They have fairly stout bodies and relatively sombre fron wings which provide good camouflage when at rest by day.The caterpillars are mostly without conspicuous hairs and nearly all pupate in the soil.
Prominents and allies,Fury,thickset moths. Wings in most cases held close to body when at reat, often steeply angled.
Superficially simlar to the Noctuidae. All rest with wings held close to the body. They fly at night and are attracted to light.
This family contains some of the worlds largest moths, including the gaint silkmoths. Adults do not feed. Most are tropical, 4 species live in Europe, including the Giant Peacock Moth-Europes Largest moth spanning about 15cm. Only the Emperor Moth lives in Britian.
Most of these moths are brightly coloured and very hairy,warning birds that they are distasteful. The adults often do not feed. The caterpillars are also very hairy in most species and pupate in cocoons made largely from hairs.
A family of fairy stout and hairy moths, many of them known as tussocks.Female is usually larger than male and often has a dense tuft of hair at tip of abdomen.Antennae are strongly feathered in male, adults do not feed. Caterpillars are very hairy, often with dense tufts or tussocks on various parts of the body.
© Simon Thurgood 2017
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