In Enemy Garb: A New Explanation for Wasp Mimicry

wasp and moth mimics

By Michael Boppré, Ph.D. A yellow-black insect at the coffee table—”Help, a wasp!” But, often, it is just an innocent hover fly, unable to sting. It is hard for us to separate these very similar looking insects. In school we learn that many hover flies (and other insects) imitate wasps to be protected from predators […]

Unique Relationship Between Joshua Tree and Moth Documented for First Time

yucca moth oviposition

By Edward Ricciuti Rubbing elbows with UFO buffs snooping about the perimeter of nearby Area 51, scientists have set up shop in the Nevada desert near the town of Rachel, “UFO Capital of the World,” seeking to solve a mystery surrounding life right here on Earth: How did it become so incredibly diverse? Camped out […]

Urban Moths Have Evolved to Avoid the Big City Lights

We’re gonna start this one off with a moth joke, because — why not? A new study published in Biology Letters by Swiss zoologists shows that urban moths have learned to avoid light. Under the assumption that natural selection would favor moths with less propensity to fly to light in urban areas, the researchers examined […]

A Cheaper, Lighter Moth Trap May Make Citizen Science Projects More Affordable

By Josh Lancette Researchers from Michigan State University believe they have invented a better — or at least a cheaper — version of the proverbial mouse trap. Except instead of a mouse trap, it’s a moth trap. The new device is described in the Journal of Insect Science. Traditional light traps used by entomologists for […]

Some Moths are Actually Butterflies According to DNA Sequencing Study

By tracing nearly 3,000 genes to the earliest common ancestor of butterflies and moths, University of Florida scientists have created an extensive “Tree of Lepidoptera” in the first study to use large-scale, next-generation DNA sequencing. The study found that some insects once classified as moths are actually butterflies, increasing butterfly species to a higher number […]