How Long Do Moths Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 65-90 days (Approx)

Moths are insects. They belong to the Order Lepidoptera, Phylum Arthropoda, and Kingdom Animalia, the same group to which the butterflies belong. Even though they belong to the order of butterflies, they are not butterflies. Moths make up a large portion of the order Lepidoptera. There are around 160,000 species of moths out of which, few are still left undiscovered.

The word Moth comes from the Old English History of the Moths ages back to 190 million years ago. It is said that butterflies have evolved from moths. Archaeolepis mane, which is one of the earliest species is believed to be the ancestors of moths. Moths are diverse in colors, shapes, and sizes. These live and feed mainly on flowering plants. They are nocturnal(active at night) by nature.

How Long Do Moths Live?

The total life span includes the larval stage, pupal stage, and adult stage. The life span of moths varies from species to species. Moths of some of the insect species may live for a few days or weeks and on the other hand, there are species whose adult life span is of 8-9 months. This shows the degree to which their life may differ. The life cycle of a typical moth is as follows:-

  1. The Egg Stage – An adult moth can lay about 50-60 eggs at a time. Egg marks the starting of moth;s life cycle. These eggs take around 5-10 days to hatch depending upon temperature and humidity of the region.
  2. The Larval Stage – There is no fixed time frame up to which this stages lasts. Sometimes larva changes to cocoon in just 2 months whereas sometimes it may take 2 years to do so. This is believed to be the most destructive phase and larvae are extremely hungry and may feed themselves on food,cloths,crops etc.
  3. The Pupal Stage – The pupal stage may last up to 8-50 days. Larvae changes to pupae in high temperature.
  4. The Adult Stage – This is believed to be the most harmless stage as the adult moth moths cannot eat or drink. Their sole aim is to find a partner for mating and reproduce new moths. The adult stage of some moths may live for a fer days while others may live for 10 months.
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Here is the table representing the moth who lives the most and the one who lives the least :

Name Of The Species Time
Gynaephora groenlandica7 years
The Indian Meal Moth55 days

Why Do Moths Live For So Long?

Moths live very shortly as species. No doubt few of them have a longer life span, but on average most of the moths don’t have a longer life span. Moths are very fragile and vulnerable. They require a certain surrounding to grow and reproduce.

To live and mate, moths mostly find warm and dark spots. Some of the moths and sensitive towards light and may die due to prolonged exposure to light which in turn reduces their lifespan. Moths, on the other hand, are very fragile. They are defenseless. They have several predators including birds, lizards, and frogs to whom they serve as food. In absence of appropriate conditions to grow and reproduce, moths die before completing their natural life cycle.

Conclusion

When it comes to moths, people usually consider them destructive insects. And it is also true to some extent as they are responsible for all the damage they cause to clothes and various important services. Their larvae act as pests and destroy a huge variety of crops. Moths are also of significance to humans in many ways. Moths belonging to the family Erebidae are excellent pollinators for plants. By helping in pollination, they in turn help in nectar and seed production. The presence of moths is an indication of a healthy environment.

The number of days moths live varies from species to species. Since there are a large number of moths species present out there in the environment, it is really difficult to estimate the exact life span of moths.

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References

  1. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/83023393.pdf
  2. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.2307/1535862