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A moth is an insect closely related to the butterfly. Both are of the order Lepidoptera. Most species of moths are nocturnal, but there are crepuscular (twilight-dwelling) and diurnal (day-dwelling) species.


Crops around the world: Moths, and more particularly their caterpillars, are a major agricultural pest in many parts of the world. The caterpillar of the Gypsy moth causes severe damage to forests in the North East USA, where it is an exotic species. In temperate climates the Codling moth causes extensive damage, especially to fruit farms. In tropical and subtropical climates the diamondback moth is perhaps the most serious pest of certain crops.

Serious munchers: Several moth species in the family Tineidae are commonly regarded as pests because their larvae eat fabric such as clothes and blankets made from natural fibers (like wool or silk.) They are less likely to eat mixed materials containing artificial fibres. There are some reports that they can be repelled by the scent of wood from juniper and cedar, by lavender or by other natural oils. However, many consider this unlikely to prevent infestation. Naphthalene (the chemical used in mothballs) is considered more effective, but there are concerns over its effects on health.

Silk creators : Some moths are farmed. Most notable is the silkworm (the larva of the domesticated moth Bombyx mori), farmed for the silk with which it builds its cocoon. The silk industry produces over 130 million kg of raw silk, worth about 250 million US dollars worldwide. Not all silk is produced by Bombyx mori. There are several species that are also farmed for their silk, such as the Ailanthus moth, the Chinese Oak Silkmoth, the Assam Silkmoth and Japanese Silk Moth.

Follow the round light... Moths are apparently attracted to light, or more specifically, are known to circle bright objects. The reason for this behaviour is not known. It may be moths navigate by maintaining a constant angular relationship to a bright celestial light (such as the moon), but on encountering a bright artificial light it navigates by maintaining a constant angle to the light, resulting in the moth flying in a spiral until it hits the light source.

Night pollinators: Night-blooming flowers usually depend on moths (or bats) for pollination, and artificial lighting can draw moths away from the flowers, affecting the plant's ability to reproduce. For this reason, light pollution is coming under increasing scrutiny as a source of many subtle ecological changes.

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 Kingdom: Animalia

 Phylum: Arthropoda

 Class: Insecta

 Order: Lepidoptera