The Truth about Exotic Moths

PetsExotic Animals

  • Author Auralee Thompson
  • Published July 8, 2012
  • Word count 457

It's a natural sight to view, a butterfly playing on top of fields of flowers and weeds, but explore closer … that delightful creature may not be a butterfly at all! Most people do not know that there are certain moths that are just as (or even more) brilliant than butterflies. Both the moth and the butterfly are part of the Lepidoptera insect family and many times when you think you are looking at a butterfly, it is really a moth.

For demonstration, the Madagascan Sunset Moth (Chrysiridia Rhipheus) is one of the most astonishing and elegant members of the Lepidoptera family. This moth is native to Madagascar and is heavily sought after by collectors. whereas these moths are chiefly black, they boast iridescent green, red, blue, copper and yellow markings. except, in contrast with other moths, the colors of the sunset moth are not pigments but otherwise the result of optical interference. Many people mistake them for butterflies in that they fly during the day unlike most moths who are night fliers.

Another moth native to Madagascar is the Comet Moth (Argema mittrei). This moth is clearly amazing; its wings fluctuate from creamy yellow-green to a more neon appearance of green with a intense red tail. It is easy to tell the difference between a male and female Comet Moth; the male has a abundantly longer tale, which can reach up to half a foot in length. Unfortunately, by reason of habitat decline; the Comet Moth is now on the endangered species list.

The Cinnabar Moth (Tyria Jacobaeae) is also a day flier and is broadly mistaken for a butterfly. It is native to Europe and Asia and has brilliant colored red back wings with a black borderline. Its forewings are grey and have a red streak towards the front and two red spots on the outer edges. The Cinnabar Moth has now been introduced to North America to better alleviate the outburst of Ragwort.

The Luna Moth (Actias Luna) is not a day flier like a good amount of exotic moths but is still broadly mistaken for a butterfly. This moth has pale pastel green wings with blatant eye spots on them. It is arguably one of the most elegant moths in North America. Its popularity was highlighted in 1987 when it appeared on a first class United States postage stamp.

While the bulk of people know there are many elegant species of butterflies throughout the world, not as many are conscious of the great beauty of the moth. There are many species of moths that are just as brilliant and beautiful as their relative: the butterfly. So the next time you see a butterfly fluttering by, take a second look, it just might be a moth.

Auralee Thompson is part owner of Wings & Things: The Butterfly Store. You can see a gallery of real butterfly hair clips, displays and more on her website at:

The Butterfly Store

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