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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Moths & Butterflies

   

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). Most species of moth are nocturnal, but there are crepuscular and diurnal species.

Moth larvae, or caterpillars, make cocoons. When it comes out of the cocoon, it is a fully grown moth with wings. Some moth caterpillars dig holes in the ground, and they will live in the hole until they are ready to turn into a fully grown moth.

Moths, and particularly their caterpillars, are a major agricultural pest in many parts of the world. Examples include corn borers and bollworms. The caterpillar of the gypsy moth causes severe damage to forests in the northeast United States, where it is an invasive species. In temperate climates, the codling moth causes extensive damage, especially to fruit farms. In tropical and subtropical climates, the diamondback moth is perhaps the most serious pest of brassicaceous crops.

Some moths are farmed. The most notable of these is the silkworm. The silk industry produces over 130 million kilograms of raw silk, worth about 250 million U.S. dollars, each year.

The mopane worm, the caterpillar of Gonimbrasia belina, from the family Saturniidae, is a significant food resource in southern Africa.

Despite being notorious for eating clothing, most moth adults do not eat at all. Most like the Luna, Polyphemus, Atlas, Prometheus, Cercropia, and other large moths do not have mouths. When they do eat, moths will drink nectar.

A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera. The butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts, egg, larva, pupa and adult. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. Butterflies comprise the true butterflies (superfamily Papilionoidea), the skippers (superfamily Hesperioidea) and the moth-butterflies (superfamily Hedyloidea). All the many other families within the Lepidoptera are referred to as moths.

It is a popular belief that butterflies have very short life spans. However, butterflies in their adult stage can live from a week to nearly a year depending on the species. Many species have long larval life stages while others can remain dormant in their pupal or egg stages and thereby survive winters.
Butterflies may have one or more broods per year. The number of generations per year varies from temperate to tropical regions with tropical regions showing a trend towards multivoltinism.

Butterfly larvae, or caterpillars, consume plant leaves and spend practically all of their time in search of food. Although most caterpillars are herbivorous, a few species such as Spalgis epius and Liphyra brassolis are entomophagous (insect eating).

   
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