Thursday, August 14, 2008

Butterflies vs Moths

Q. People find moths in closets but never butterflies. Why?


How come I find moths flying around in my home from time to time, but never butterflies? It would be nice to have butterflies as house guests. Lou Sorkin of the American Museum of Natural History mentioned a few factors for the lack of butterfly tenants:

...The answer has to do with the paucity of nectar-bearing flowers in the average home, compared with the rich supply of food for larvae that become moths...

In addition, Lou points out that a number of species of moths are pests on household items, like grains, spices, and wool. So we have food to attract some species of moths. Lou also reminds us that butterflies and moths fly at different times:

...(most butterflies) fly during the day, and most moths at night. This results in moths being attracted to inside lights...Moths, on the other hand, might be outdoor species attracted by the lights of the home in the evening hours, or more probably, they might be the adults of species whose caterpillars chew on fabrics or stored foods...

2 comments:

Yvonne said...

I knew that.

Riverwolf said...

I've always had this completely irrational "fear" of moths, the way they dart back and forth and fly head-on into your face. And when they're still, they're REALLY still, like they're waiting for you to drop your guard so they can attack!

But now that I'm a big boy, I bought a book on moths--and they're so fascinating and beautiful. As long as they stay out of my sweaters!