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Latest Lepidoptera Stories

2011-03-09 18:12:50

Why should we care about butterflies and moths? Thanks to butterflies, bees, birds, and other animal pollinators, the world's flowering plants are able to reproduce and bear fruit. That very basic capability is at the root of many of the foods we eat. And, not least, pollination adds to the beauty we see around us. Yet today, there is evidence of alarming pollinator population declines worldwide. Fortunately, science investigators of this crucial issue can use data collected and organized in...

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2011-02-17 10:17:39

Rising carbon dioxide levels associated with global warming may affect interactions between plants and the insects that eat them, altering the course of plant evolution, research at the University of Michigan suggests. The research focused on the effects of elevated carbon dioxide on common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. Milkweed is one of many plants that produce toxic or bitter chemical compounds to protect themselves from being eaten by insects. These chemical defenses are the result of a...

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2011-02-15 05:25:00

Experts report a partial recovery in the annual winter migration of Monarch butterflies to Mexico, following a devastating 75 percent fall last year. The conservation group World Wildlife Fund Mexico says the butterflies from the U.S. and Canada are covering an area of forests that is double that of last year, when their numbers dropped to a historic low. "Fluctuations in insect populations are normal in nature," the study's sponsors said in a statement, quoted by the Associated Press....

2011-01-25 12:22:38

Scientists studied the defences used by caterpillars that transform into large white butterflies, called Pieris brassicae. The insects regurgitate semi-digested cabbage leaves to make them smell and taste unpleasant to predators. The team found, however, that frequent use of this defence reduces the caterpillars' growth rate and the number of eggs they produce. It remains unclear why their defences affect them in this way, but the loss of nutrition from frequent regurgitation is thought to...

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2011-01-07 06:00:00

A new study published Thursday in the journal Science has found that female butterflies that grow up in colder temperatures become more aggressive as adults, actively chasing males for sex and food. "Behavior in these butterflies is changed by the temperatures experienced during development," said study co-author Kathleen Prudic of Yale University, who studied female Squinting Bush Brown Butterflies (Bicyclus anynana). Researchers were curious as to why some females had ornate wing markings...

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2010-11-08 07:55:42

Combining pest-resistant cotton with the controlled release of sterile pink bollworm moths, a UA-led initiative has virtually rid Arizona of one the world's most damaging cotton pests Using pests as part of an insect birth control program helps to get rid of them, UA researchers find. A new approach that combines the planting of pest-resistant cotton and releasing large numbers of sterile moths has virtually eliminated of the world's most destructive cotton pests from Arizona. The novel...

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2010-10-12 08:00:00

Monarch butterflies appear to use medicinal plants to treat their offspring for disease, research by biologists at Emory University shows. Their findings were published online Oct. 6 in the journal Ecology Letters. "We have shown that some species of milkweed, the larva's food plants, can reduce parasite infection in the monarchs," says Jaap de Roode, the evolutionary biologist who led the study. "And we have also found that infected female butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on plants that...

2010-08-06 17:06:37

Research suggests coping with global warming has a genetic component With global warming and climate change making headlines nearly every day, it could be reassuring to know that some creatures might cope by gradually moving to new areas as their current ones become less hospitable. Nevertheless, natural relocation of species is not something that can be taken for granted, according to Jessica Hellmann, Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame Department of Biological Science in...

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2010-07-23 08:00:17

"Weird movements" in the abdomens of freely crawling caterpillars are making headlines in the fields of engineering and biology, says Jake Socha, Virginia Tech assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics. Beyond evolutionary implications, the findings are already contributing to the design and development of soft material robots. The work of an interdisciplinary research team, including Socha, lead author Michael Simon of Tufts University's Department of Biology, and senior...

2010-07-12 04:07:00

FREDERICK, Md., July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- American gardeners face frustrating problems with their edible or ornamental gardens. These problems are caused by many different pests. Here are MasterGardening.com's Top 10 garden pests and control tips: 1. Deer. These peaceful animals were tabbed as causing the most widespread damage in a USDA national survey. Clean up all unharvested fruits and vegetables. If you still see signs of deer damage -- torn leaves or bark scraped off trees -- you can...


Latest Lepidoptera Reference Libraries

Black Stream Glider, Neurothemis fulvia
2013-07-25 14:24:03

The black stream glider (Neurothemis fulvia) is a species of dragonfly that is native to India and neighboring areas. It is typically found near forested areas with slow moving streams and canals. It can be seen perching on many objects within these areas like aquatic plants, and boulders. The black stream glider is medium in size, with males holding an average abdomen length of up to 1.1 inches and females holding an abdomen that reaches a length of up to .9 inches. Both males and females...

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2009-04-28 21:04:39

The Plutella xylostella is often referred to as the Diamondback or Cabbage moth. This species is has a brief lifespan of only 14 days and is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region of Europe, but has since dispersed across the world. This species is capable of reproducing quickly and can travel great distances. Diamondback are considered serious pests in warmer climates when the absence of a harsh winter prevents their eggs from being destroyed. The moths are resistant to...

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2009-04-28 21:01:20

The Argema mittrei, more commonly known as the Comet or Moon Moth, is an endangered species. It is a native of Madagascar and that is the only place where one can observe them in the wild. This large silk moth can be bred in captivity and is one of the world's largest moths. Males have an average wing span of nearly 8 inches and a tail span of almost 6 inches. The lifespan of an adult moth is only 4-5 days and they are capable of reproduction from day 1. Their cocoons are uniquely...

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2009-04-28 20:58:59

The Agrotis infusa or Bogong moth is a species of nocturnal moth that in spring will swarm in great numbers around public buildings in Canberra, Australia. They are commonly found in Southern parts of Australia featuring a wingspan of one and three quarters inches and are brown or black in color with stout bodies covered with long thick scales. Larvae are often called cutworms and feed on a variety of plants of which they "cut" pieces and carry them back to their burrows for food. Adult...

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2008-08-06 17:51:14

The Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia), also known as the Eyed Tiger Moth, is a moth of the Arctiidae family. It is distributed throughout the southern and eastern United States from New England to Mexico. This species has a wingspan of 3 inches. The wings are bright white with a pattern of neat black blotches, some hollow and some solid. The abdomen is dark blue with orange markings. The male has a narrow yellow line on the sides. Its legs have black and white bands. Adult moths...

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Word of the Day
Cthulhu
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.
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