Green Fingers I Wish

Friday, October 20, 2006

Moths and Pupa

There are hundreds of moths in the British Isles, most go unseen as they are nocturnal, only coming into view at lighted windows and around outside lamps. Some of the prettiest are mistaken for butterflies. One of the most spectacular is the Hummingbird Hawk-moth or Clearwing, which is quite large and resembles a humming bird as it hovers while inserting it's long probosis into flowers to reach the nactar.

picture of moth caterpillar picture of moth pupa
The right-hand picture shows the transition stage to a pupa

That's the charming side of these creatures, but as for their cousins, the butterflies, it is the earlier forms in their life cycle which do not endear them to gardeners since they feed on plant material. Most of the caterpillars which attack garden plants belong to moths, either eating leaves, friut or roots; eg. Codling Moths, lay their eggs in apples and the grubs which hatch ruin the fruit.

They start as eggs laid on the underside of leaves, inserted into plant tissue or on the ground. These hatch into larvae (caterpillars) which go through several instars before pupating then finally emerging as adult moths.


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