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Facts about Moths for Kids


  • Most of this order are moths; there are thought to be about 160,000 species of moth (nearly ten times the number of species of butterfly), with thousands of species yet to be described.
  • Sometimes the name “Heterocera” is used for moths while the term “Rhopalocera” is used for butterflies to formalize the popular distinction; these, however, have no taxonomic validity.
  • Many attempts have been made to subdivide the Lepidoptera into groups such as the Microlepidoptera and Macrolepidoptera, Frenatae and Jugatae, or Monotrysia and Ditrysia.
  • Also, both their larvae are similar to coleoptera larvae (beetle).
  • The Modern English word “moth” comes from Old English “moððe”  from Common Germanic.
  • Perhaps its origins are related to the Old English “maða” meaning “maggot” or from the root of “midge” which until the 16th century was used mostly to indicate the larva, usually in reference to devouring clothes.
  • The study of butterflies and moths is known as lepidoptery, and biologists that specialize in either are called lepidopterists.
  • The latter has given rise to the term “mother” for someone who engages in this activity – sometimes written with a hyphen (moth-er) to distinguish it from the more common word of the same spelling.
  • 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.
  • In tropical and subtropical climates, the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) is perhaps the most serious pest of brassicaceous crops.
  • Several moths in the family Tineidae are commonly regarded as pests because their larvae eat fabric such as clothes and blankets made from natural proteinaceous fibers such as wool or silk.
  • The most notable of these is the silkworm, the larva of the domesticated moth Bombyx mori.
  • There are several species of Saturniidae that are also farmed for their silk, such as the Ailanthus moth, the Chinese Oak Silkmoth, the Assam Silkmoth, and the Japanese Silk Moth.
  • Most like the Luna, Polyphemus, Atlas, Prometheus, Cercropia, and other large moths do not have mouths.
  • Moths frequently appear to circle artificial lights, although the reason for this behavior remains unknown.
  • Celestial objects are so far away, that even after traveling great distances, the change in angle between the moth and the light source is negligible; further, the moon will always be in the upper part of the visual field or on the horizon.
  • When a moth encounters a much closer artificial light and uses it for navigation, the angle changes noticeably after only a short distance, in addition to being often below the horizon.
  • Baculoviruses are parasite double-stranded DNA insect viruses that are used mostly as biological control agents.
  • Most baculovirus isolates have been obtained from insects, in particular from Lepidoptera.
  • There is evidence that ultrasound in the range emitted by bats causes flying moths to make evasive maneuvers because bats eat moths.