Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Pink Star Moth 粉红星蛾 (Family Noctuidae, Nocturnal Moths)

Along the southern border of the United States, many pretty tropical moths venture into our territory. This beautiful little pink moth is found in southern New Mexico and Arizona and in northern Mexico. In the summer warm southwestern darkness it comes silently to open flowers, not hovering like a hawk moth, but creeping in among the petals to sip its full. Like great numbers of other moths little or nothing is known about its life.

Members of the Noctuid family are among the least known of all moths because they rarely come to light but prefer the darkness. Also, they rarely come out early in the evening but wait until the blackness thickens so it is almost impossible to see them without light. A summer night may be swarming with hundreds of thousands of them within a mile of you and you will not know it. Some Noctuid caterpillars are great destroyers of cultivated plants, which makes them deadly enemies of men. Much more than we now know about them must be learned so that we can flight these pests and overcome them. Many more Noctuid moths are perfectly harmless and most of them do good by pollinating flowers and by furnishing foods to birds and bats. Birds, such as the poor-wills and owls, catch them by night since their eyes have large irises that can be opened wide to let in every tiny ray of light. But the bats use instead of their extraordinary keenness of hearing that enables them to bounce their own squeaks off a moth and catch the echo!

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