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National Moth Week 🐛 🦋!

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Yes, you did read right - there is such a thing called National Moth Week (NMW)! It's an annual event, which was first founded in 2012 by the Friends of the East Brunswick (NJ) Environmental Commission - a time to celebrate, appreciate and learn all about moths because they are most certainly underappreciated, in comparison to their 'more beautiful' counterparts (butterflies!) They are so underrated that I had to use a butterfly emoji in my title - moths don't have their own emoji!

Some of you reading this may not be the biggest fan of moths and some of you may even have a phobia of the dusty creatures, which is called Mottephobia (❗ if you do have a genuine phobia, please don’t scroll any further because there will be plenty of images of moths - sorry! ❗) Of course, there are reasons such as the fact that they leave dust behind wherever they go, some species chew holes into clothing, they rest with their wings open etc., but one of the main reasons we aren’t particularly fond of these night dwelling, nocturnal creatures is because of the way they move! Whilst people may describe a butterfly as gliding or fluttering - calm, enchanting movements, people would say that moths flap around them (much like smaller versions of bats), which is a much less appealing description and is connoted with an unpleasant sound!

Did you know that, there are approximately 1️⃣5️⃣0️⃣,0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ - 5️⃣0️⃣0️⃣,0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ species of moth around the world?! Another fact is that, if you saw a moth in the daytime, you probably wouldn't pick out that it was a moth because they are so closely associated with the nighttime and in the dark, you cannot possibly identify their gorgeous colours - yes, colours! It is butterflies that are seen as striking, vibrant, fascinating members of the Lepidoptera group of insects and moths are seen as being dull, dark and uninteresting, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! To test you, are you able to spot the difference between this moth and butterfly?

Now, both of the creatures above are incredibly dazzling and I bet the only way you could identify the moth is because it’s slightly different in body/wing shape! Also, whilst the stunning Small Elephant Hawk-moth is lined with a striking pink colour, there are no known pink butterfly species, so that’s one up for moths! Just so you know - on the left is the Purple Emperor butterfly (Apatura Iris) and on the right is the Small Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila Porcellus.)

After a lot of moth-related research, I have collected images of 1️⃣0️⃣ different species of moth that are considered beautiful and plentiful in vibrancy, so sit back and be in awe!

The Luna moth (actius luna) - native to north US & Canada.
The Southern Flannel moth (megalopyge opercularis) aka a moth version of a bumble bee - native to southeastern US.
The Rosy Maple moth (dryocampa rubicunda) aka the cutest moth ever - native to eastern US.
The Sunset moth (chrysiridia rhipheus) - native to Madagascar.
The Giant Leopard moth (hypercompe scribonia) - native to north/central US & Canada.
The Hummingbird Clearwing moth (hemaris thysbe) - native to north US.
The Cinnabar moth (tyria jacobaeae) - native to Europe & Asia.
The Swallow-tailed moth (ourapteryx sambucaria) - its larvae looks like a twig - native to Europe.
The Madagascan Bullseye moth (antherina suraka) - native to Madagascar.
The Garden Tiger moth (arctia caja) - its larvae are known as 'woolly bears' - native to Europe, north US & Canada.

These little furry, gorgeously unique creatures are far from being dull and boring or even scary, but it is vital that their numbers, which are currently declining, don't fall any further - moths are a critical part of our ecosystem! So, how can you help to create a moth friendly habitat in your garden?

I have created a small list of charming, nectar-rich plants, both for day-flying and night-flying moths!

Nicotiana Alata - grows best in a flower bed.
Jasmine - looks stunning grown up a trellis.
Honeysuckle - another climber, so it's perfect for a trellis or even trailing up a tree.
Hemp-agrimony - the happiest in wet soil, best grown beside a body of water.
Sweet Rocket - best to be planted in a flower bed.
Ivy - our third & final climber.
Michaelmas Daisy - the perfect partner for a flower borer.
Sedum Spectabile - enchanting as a standalone plant.

All of these plants will not only tempt moths into your garden, but they will also look absolutely captivating in your garden, producing a wide variety of endearing shapes, sizes and colours!

Whilst I can't force anyone to like (or even love) moths in any way, I hope I have shown that they really aren't as unlikable or boring as we first assumed and that there's actually an understated sense of elegance about them! Regardless of our feelings towards them, we should all do our little bit to try and protect them and their habitats, as much as we possibly can!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and if you can, why not spend some time outside and see if you can spot any of our moths mentioned above - remember, they do appear in the daytime too! If you do manage to take any pictures of these intriguing creatures, please don't hold back from sharing them - we would love to see your discoveries!

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