Skip to content

webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) larva

The digestive powers of the larva of the webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) mean materials like wool hats, rugs, and upholstery are an all-you-can-eat buffer for the tiny caterpillars. Such substances are chock full of keratin, a protein found in hair, skin, horns, and hooves and that is infamously difficult to digest. It is still unclear how webbing clothes moth larvae can process keratin—it’s possible that they have a microbe in their guts that produces a helpful digestive enzyme. (Photo by Andrey Ponomarev via iNaturalist, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.