About My Moths Blog
My Moths Blog is a diary of the comings and goings recorded at my moth station, together with other general information about moths that I feel you may find useful and/or interesting.

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For more information on specific moth species I am currently working on two new sections of the site, Steve's Micro Moths and Steve's Macro Moths, which can be accessed from the buttons at the bottom of the page. Please note that these are works in progress, so will take some time to complete.


How do Moths Mate?

How do moths attract a Mate and reproduce?

Most people think that come spring, the host of caterpillars and insect larvae they see will turn into beautiful butterflies when they grow up. In reality, most caterpillars turn into moths, and it is not by a small margin either, by ratio 95% will turn into moths Butterflies and moths do share a similar reproductive cycle.
Nearly all moths and butterflies must mate to produce offspring. Depending on the moth species mating takes place during different times of the year. However, moths require warm weather to fly and to mate. Butterflies find mates by sight; moths use their sense of smell. Because they usually come out at night, which makes them hard to spot, even to one another. The female moth produces pheromones that the male moth notices. Some male moths and butterflies have specific scales located on their wings that make pheromones to attract females of the same species. Some female moths have glands on their bodies that release pheromones to attract males. Pheromones are essential for moth species that are nocturnal and have drab colours, as they rely on smell to locate potential mates. Male moths can use their antennae to find females that are up to four miles away. The male then flies immediately to the scent's source. Once the male discovers the scent with his antennae, he flies toward the source of it and ultimately locates the female. The mating ritual varies in species, but once the male has found a female, he chases her until she falls to the ground.
Subject to the moth species, the male may use different techniques to impress the female; he will shift his antennae and release pheromones from tufts of hair on his thorax, legs, abdomen or wings. The male moth then mounts the female to mate. They attach themselves at their abdomens, with the male using his "claspers," which are short, hand-like appendages on his anus, to hold on to the female. The male passes a sac, known as the "spermatophore," through his penis, this comprises not only sperm but additional nutrients that will help support the growing larvae. The female stores the sac in her abdomen's reproductive centre called the "bursa copulatrix." Females can mate with several males in succession before laying her eggs. Mating is often very short-lived.


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