Fat in moths, butterflies and their caterpillar forms.

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Someone made me wonder about this so I did some research...it looks like moths have quite a bit of fat...but not as much as their worms/caterpillars do...

http://www.scwildlife.com/pubs/mayjune2006/LunaMoth.html
"ts doom is certain: the adult luna moth has not even been granted a mouth by evolution, so it lives off fat ingested in the last days of its caterpillar stage, mates, and dies in a matter of days."

Be aware that these moths aestivate and need the fat for that...
http://szgdocent.org/resource/ff/f-arth3c.htm
"There they remain in suspended animation, living off the reserves of fat built up as caterpillars. The moths are more than 50% fat."

http://www.insects.org/ced1/aust_abor.html
"As a food, the Bogong moth was rich in fat, with the average fat content of the male's abdomens exceeding sixty-one percent and of females, fifty-one percent of their dry weight."

http://www.australianfauna.com/bogongmoth.php
" The moth's body is 60% fat and very nutritious."

Some butterflies are quite fatty too...take the Monarch for instance...fat is needed to be able to migrate...
http://www.kindermagic.com/backyard_bugs.html
"Fat, stored in their abdomens, fuels their southward flight of up to three thousand miles."

Aestivating butterflies are more fatty too...
http://www.amonline.net.au/factSheets/oleander.htm
"The butterflies go into a dormant state in which they live on their fat reserves"

In contrast...some butterflies seem to be less fatty...
http://www.livescience.com/animalworld/060321_butterfly_fat.html
"the larva had nearly three times more fat than the butterfly."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060320214642.htm
"butterflies experience a great loss in body fat during metamorphosis"

And this may be the reason why some butterflies are less fatty than moths...
http://library.thinkquest.org/C0110693/butterfly.htm
"In contrast with butterflies most moths do not have a functional proboscis. Those moths live off one's fat reserves, obtained during the larval stage."

So...it seems that the caterpillar/worm stages have more fat than the butterfly/moth stages, but some butterflies have even less fat than others in the butterfly stage.

Bears eat moths to put on fat for the winter hibernation...so I guess if moth fat can sustain a bear we still better not feed too many fatty moths to our lizards!
http://www.food-insects.com/Vol5 no3.htm
"Composed of 72 percent fat and 28 percent protein, these flitting morsels are a better energy source, ounce for ounce, than deer meat or cutthroat trout."

Well..."they" say you learn something new every day!

Question for lele or anyone else who can answer it...why are male luna moths attracted to MV lights?
http://butterflywebsite.com/articles/bgq/LunaMoth.htm
"distraction of male moths to mercury-vapor lights"
 
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