Pestrianki is a large family of butterflies with different noses, including over a thousand species and distributed throughout the planet except for permafrost lands. The moth butterfly has a calm character, even their flight itself seems sleepy and lazy – they are poisonous and are almost not afraid of predators. They often become garden pests.
Species origin and description
The first butterflies appeared about 140 million years ago – there are well-preserved fossils found in amber, so their appearance has been established reliably. Unfortunately, butterfly fossils are relatively rare, as their bodies are delicate and poorly preserved.
Therefore, scientists believe that in reality butterflies may be older than the oldest fossils found, and it is likely that they appeared 200-250 million years ago. Their flowering is associated with flowering plants – as they spread across the planet, more and more butterflies became.
Flowers became the main source of food, and for the extraction of nectar, butterflies acquired a proboscis – and beautiful wings to resemble flowers. Nocturnal (different-whiskered) butterflies occurred first, and only then diurnal (equal-whiskered) ones appeared. The division into diurnal and nocturnal is rather arbitrary – for example, the moth belongs to nocturnal butterflies, but at the same time most of its species are diurnal.
Video: Moth moth
Therefore, the key parameter is still a mustache. The variegated butterflies appeared first, and for the most part they are smaller, and even more primitive. This partly applies to the moth – it has rather simple wings, which is why it flies slowly and clumsily, but still surpasses almost any night butterfly both in size and complexity of the device.
This suggests that the moths occurred relatively recently, although the details of their origin are unknown to researchers: a small number of finds of fossil butterflies affects. As for the moths themselves, this is an extensive family, which includes over 1,000 species, and more and more new ones are still periodically discovered.
Its scientific description was made by Pierre André Latreille in 1809, at the same time the name was given to Latin – Zygaenidae. The genera and species included in the family are very diverse, so it is sometimes difficult to understand, just by looking at butterflies of different species, that they are closely related.
Appearance and Features
The body relative to the wings of most members of the family is large, as a result of which they look far from being as fragile and graceful as other butterflies. It affects belonging to different-bearded butterflies, which differ in structure from the usual diurnal ones. Also, the body is studded with bristles.
The wingspan, depending on the species, varies significantly, ranging from 15 to 60 mm – thus, the moths belong to small or medium butterflies. They can have a proboscis both well developed and greatly reduced. There are no scales on it. Palps, both maxillary and labial, are short in speck.
The antennae may have different ones, in any case they thicken towards the end, that is, they are club-shaped. Pestryanka and chitozem also have bristles located on the head, playing the role of a sensory organ.
Most of the representatives of the family are distinguished by a very bright color that catches the eye – this is even reflected in the name. The base color of the wings is usually black, blue or green, and they are often dotted with spots – yellow, orange or red. Rarely are moths that are monophonic or close to it, as well as simply pale.
They have a bright color for a reason, this is a signal to predators that the butterfly is dangerous for them – the fact is that the moths are poisonous, in their body toxins accumulate, especially hydrocyanic acid. Many predators who have eaten motley will be poisoned – at best, they will have to suffer a lot, even death is possible.
This butterfly has another way of protection: if it is disturbed, it can secrete an odorous liquid containing poison. Not only adult moths are poisonous, but also caterpillars.
Where does the moth live?
Photo: Moth Moth in Russia
Representatives of the family are distributed almost all over the planet, except for the coldest corners, where butterflies simply cannot live. Of course, different species have their ranges, the following main distribution zones of subfamilies are distinguished:
- Zygaeninae live almost throughout Europe and Asia, as well as in northeastern Africa;
- Chalcosiinae prefer southeast Asia, they can also be found outside of it, but relatively rarely and only a few species;
- Procridinae are found almost everywhere, although with unequal frequency – the largest number of species, as well as the populations of the butterflies themselves, live in the tropics;
- Phaudinae, as well as Callizygaeninae – subfamilies are relatively rare and include a small number of species, they can only be found in the Indian region and Southeast Asia.
In general, Pestrians love warm climes, and are most common in the tropics and subtropics. The temperate climate is much poorer for these butterflies, but it also has its own unique species. They also prefer moist air, therefore, in the area adjacent to the sea within 1,000 kilometers from the coast, there are much more of them than in the depths of the continent.
They settle in areas rich in vegetation, where it will be convenient for them to eat themselves, and lay eggs, that is, flowers and fodder plants grow close to each other. Often this is a meadow or garden – they are known as garden pests, because they live in large groups, and can literally eat some plants.
What does the moth eat?
Adult butterflies consume mainly nectar and do no harm. Preferences can vary greatly depending on the species, but in temperate latitudes, these are usually meadow and garden flowers.
- bellflower ;
Some saplings may also drink the sap of trees or rotting fruit. In any case, in the form of an imago, they do not interfere with people in any way, the problem is only in the caterpillars – it is because of them that if such butterflies start up in the garden, they need to be urgently exterminated. There can be a lot of caterpillars, and they often feed on leaves and buds of garden trees and bushes.
They can be raided by:
- plum ;
These butterflies do not scatter far and, if they already appeared in your garden, a whole population may soon hatch, and there will be no life from caterpillars – there may be several hundred of them on one, which will greatly reduce its fertility.
Fun fact: Many moths are covered in body hair to scatter the signal of bats, which use it to find insects and then catch them, but catching moths is far from easy. Some also have ears sensitive to ultrasound, and when they hear that a bat is nearby, the butterfly falls to the ground and avoids meeting it. There are even some that emit a response signal, confusing the bat.
Character and lifestyle features
Most partryanki actively flies during the day and rests at night. Although there are exceptions – some species fly at night, like other night butterflies, they tend to fly towards lamps and lit windows. Most often, sandpipers love sunlight and warmth, they can often be seen basking under the rays with their wings folded.
The design of their wings is rather primitive – this is due to the fact that they are not usually hunted in the air, and therefore the specklets did not have as much incentive to improve their wings as most other butterflies. As a result, they fly very slowly, and their flight looks clumsy.
A caught moth can pretend to be dead. The level of timidity differs depending on the species – some speckles, until obvious aggression is shown towards them, are generally calm, allow people to freely take control of themselves and do not even try to fly away.
Such a calm character was largely developed due to the fact that they are threatened by quite a few dangers, and there is no need to be afraid of every rustle – an ordinary butterfly cannot afford such calmness, because every minute, even right in flight, birds can hunt for it .
The life of the moths is calm and measured: when the sun comes out, they fly out to feed on flowering plants, slowly flying from one to the other, usually close to other moths, in whole groups. In general, they are not inclined to move far and can spend their whole lives in one garden or in one meadow.
Social structure and reproduction
Eggs are laid in spring . Masonry can be either single or in rows. The size of the eggs is about half a millimeter, they are elongated, yellow in color. It takes about a week and a half for the caterpillar to hatch.
She has a kind of protection – she can pull her head into her chest. Her whole body is also protected: it is covered with bristles. But more importantly, it is poisonous, which is why rare predators risk attacking it, most of them know perfectly well that it is inedible.
Having properly eaten and grown, the caterpillar goes to “hibernate”. This can be called so very conditionally, because wintering for them can come in July, if these are caterpillars of the first generation, the earliest, or in August for subsequent generations. This is in temperate latitudes, in the tropics, new generations appear all year round.
They spend a lot of time in hibernation – until the next warm period. Then they wake up and again begin to devour leaves or buds, because it takes a lot of energy to turn into a butterfly. Having accumulated enough supplies, they finally pupate, and then turn into adults.
Thus, more than a year passes from laying an egg to becoming an adult. The butterfly usually does not fly far, and breeds in the same garden where it appeared itself – as a result, if measures are not taken against them in time, in a year the garden may be literally filled with them, which will not benefit its fertility at all.
Natural enemies of moth butterflies
Thanks The poisonousness of the enemies of the moth is relatively small both in the form of a caterpillar and after turning into an adult. Most predators are deterred by its color or the smell of the substance it releases when it is in danger, both of which indicate inedibility.
But still, some predators can digest such butterflies and prey on them. The list of enemies of the moth can vary greatly depending on what species it belongs to, but most often it includes:
- ground beetles;
- predatory bugs;
- larvae of syrphid flies.
The poison of the parsley is not terrible for the listed ones, but they prey most often on its eggs and caterpillars, and adults can feel safe – it can only be threatened by large tropical spiders.
An important enemy of motley, most likely even the worst – people. Due to the fact that the pests are garden pests, and very malicious, they are purposefully fought with the help of chemicals, which destroys large numbers of them, and sometimes even entire populations.
An interesting fact: There are also false parsleys – it is very easy to confuse the real ones with them because of the external similarity. At the same time, they belong to different families – the false parsley belongs to the erebidae (Erebidae), but leads the same way of life as the real parsley, and can even be found in the same fields. There are a lot of false parsley species – about 3,000.
Population and species status
In general, nothing threatens the family of moths – they multiply rapidly, and where a couple of butterflies live, after a few years there may be a thousand. Even the fight against them does not always help to completely get rid of these pests, and often only reduces their population to acceptable values.
Thus, due to rapid reproduction, these butterflies are very tenacious. But there is another nuance – they do not settle evenly over a large area, but live in pockets, very densely. As a result, the complete destruction of several such foci can greatly reduce the range of the species, and if it was not widespread, then endanger it.
Therefore, although many parsleys are much more widespread than people would like, and there are a lot of them, but there are also rare species that are on the verge of extinction and are protected in certain countries or regions.
An interesting fact: About 18 thousand species belong to equal butterflies, they are also diurnal. It may seem that this is a lot, but there are much more dissimilar ones – about 150 thousand species. Most often, night butterflies are small in size and primitively arranged, but the species diversity among them is amazing. their wings can exceed 150 mm. There are much more night butterflies not only in terms of the number of species, but simply in number, and at night just a huge number of Lepidoptera lead their lives.
Protection of moth butterflies
Measures for the protection of moths can be established and applied differently, it depends on the country or region where a certain type of butterfly is taken under protection. These regions include Europe, Southeast Asia, the countries of North and South America – in all of them there are rare and legally protected parsleys.
In a number of European countries, some species are recognized as rare or endangered, they usually use enough effective measures – after all, butterflies are distinguished by the fact that their population is quite easy to restore even when it drops to minimum values.
In the regional Red Books, a number of species of parsley are also listed in Russia. For example, in Moscow these are moths: Osterodskaya, honeysuckle, pea and meadowsweet. The population of each of these species must be monitored and habitats identified as they appear.
If such a place is found, it is registered and protected. Also, in order to preserve butterflies, meadows along the banks of reservoirs and in forests, edges are left intact. The use of meadows in the habitats of rare sandflies is controlled. They are being reintroduced to suitable locations. Measures are being taken to mitigate the impact of negative factors, for example, fragmentation of the population due to development or new roads, the destruction of forbs – and the like.
Although there are pests among the pests, this is a very interesting family, and it includes a variety of butterflies – their diversity is especially high in the tropics. These butterflies amaze with their calm nature – many of them are generally not afraid of people. Although the moth butterfly breeds rapidly, there are rare species among them that need protection.