Moth Life Cycles

Moths have fascinating life-cycles that are used in many countries to teach children about the natural world. The transformation from egg to caterpillar to pupa is one of the wonders of nature.

1.  All moths start off as eggs.  Some eggs are smaller than a millimeter and almost all are yellow or green. 

 

2.  A caterpillar once it hatches often eats its own eggshell and then begins to eat the plant it was laid on.  Caterpillars must molt or shed their own skin in order to grow.  Most do this 4 to 5 times in a period of about 2 weeks.

 

3.  A fully grown caterpillar finds a safe place to pupate.  Some caterpillars spin cocoons of silken threads in which they pupate.

 

4.  Inside the caterpillar is undergoing amazing chemical changes, and gradually the adult moth emerges.

 

5.  The adult moth breaks out of its pupa.  Its wings and body are still soft so it pumps blood into its newly formed wings.  Within about half an hour, the exoskeleton hardens and the wings become rigid.  The new adult's task is to find a mate.

In one day, a caterpillar can eat many times its weight in food.  Most of the food is stored as fat for later stages of life, such as the metamorphosis from caterpillar to adult.  During that time the moth can't eat.

LORQUIN'S ATLAS MOTH, Attacus lorquinii (Saturniidae; Saturniinae) © Shekai Alaban

OLEANDER HAWK MOTH or ARMY GREEN MOTH, Daphnis nerii (formerly Deilephila nerii) (Sphingidae; Macroglossinae) © Leana Lahom-Cristobal

GREEN HAWK MOTH, Pergesa acteus (Sphingidae; Macroglossinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

TUSSOCK MOTH, Unidentified Orgyiini (Erebidae; Lymantriinae; Orgyiini) © Leana Lahom-Cristobal Host plant: "Duhat (Syzygium cumini)

HAWK MOTH, Eupanacra elegantulus (Sphingidae; Macroglossinae) © Linda Alisto, Rey M. Abellada & Albert Kang

TUSSOCK MOTH, Unidentified Orgyiini (Erebidae; Lymantriinae; Orgyiini) © Linda Alisto Host plant: Golden Duranta (Duranta repens)

TIGER MOTH, Olepa sp. (Erebidae; Arctiinae; Spilosomini) © Shekai Alaban

EREBID MOTH, Macaldenia cf. palumba (Erebidae; Erebinae; Poaphilini) © Arlene Halabaso Host Plant: Calamansi (Citrofortunella microcarpa)

SLUG MOTH, Griseothosea sp. (Limacodidae; Limacodinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

IMPATIENS HAWK MOTH, Theretra oldenlandiae (Sphingidae; Macroglossinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

LAPPET MOTH, Odonestis sp. (Lasiocampidae; Pinarinae) © Leana Lahom-Cristobal

PANTROPICAL MOTH, Birthana basiflava (Immidae) © Linda Alisto Host plant: Maki Yew Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus)

LUNA GYPSY MOTH, Lymantria lunata (Erebidae; Lymantriinae; Lymantriini) © Leana Lahom-Cristobal

ZYGAENID MOTH, Thyrassia philippina (Zygaenidae; Procridinae) © Choco Voices & Leana Lahom-Cristobal

CASTOR SEMI-LOOPER MOTH, Achaea janata (Erebidae; Erebinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

TUSSOCK MOTH, Unidentified Orgyiini (Erebidae; Lymantriinae; Orgyiini) © Leana Lahom-Cristobal Host plant: Lantana camara

HAWK MOTH, Eupanacra elegantulus (Sphingidae; Macroglossinae) © Linda Alisto & Rey M. Abellada

TUSSOCK MOTH, Nygmia sp. (Erebidae; Lymantriinae; Nygmiini) © Linda Alisto Host plant: Begonia

COTTON LOOPER, Anomis flava (Erebidae, Scoliopteryginae, Anominae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

LAPPET MOTH, Estigena (Gastropacha) sp. (Lasiocampidae; Pinarinae) © Leana Lahom-Cristobal

TUSSOCK MOTH, Nygmiini (Erebidae; Lymantriinae; Nygmiini) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

CUP MOTH or SLUG MOTH, Unidentified Limacodinae (Limacodidae; Limacodinae) © Linda Alisto Host plant: Coffea arabica

CUP MOTH or SLUG MOTH, Unidentified Limacodinae (Limacodidae; Limacodinae) © Linda Alisto

LAPPET MOTH, Paralebeda sp. (Lasiocampidae) © Linda Alisto

PANTROPICAL MOTH, Moca sp. (Immidae) © Linda Alisto

TUSSOCK MOTH, Nygmiini (Erebidae; Lymantriinae; Nygmiini) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

EGGAR, Suana sp. (Lasiocampidae) © Linda Alisto

EUTELIID MOTH, Targalla sp. (Euteliidae; Euteliinae) © Leana Lahom-Cristobal

LILY CATERPILLAR MOTH, Spodoptera picta (Noctuidae; Noctuinae; Prodeniini) © Shekai Alaban

NOCTUID MOTH, Condica sp. (Noctuidae; Condicinae; Condicini) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

EREBID MOTH, Platyja sp. cf. umminia (Erebidae; Erebinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

TARO HAWK MOTH, SILVER-STRIPED HAWK MOTH or VINE HAWK MOTH, Hippotion celerio (Linnaeus, 1758) synonym: Sphinx tisiphone. (Sphingidae; Macroglossinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

MARBLED WHITE MOTH, Nyctemera coleta (Erebidae; Arctiinae; Arctiini) © Shekai Alaban

CRAMBID MOTH, Herpetogramma Stultalis (Crambidae; Spilomelinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

LOBSTER MOTH, Stauropus sp. (Notodontidae; Heterocampinae) © Shekai Alaban

CROTALARIA MOTH, Utetheisa lotrix (Erebidae; Arctiinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

EREBID MOTH, Thyas coronata (Erebidae; Erebinae; Catocalini) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

EREBID MOTH, Mocis undata (Erebidae; Erebinae) © Shekai Alaban

EREBID MOTH, Buzara sp. cf. onelia (Erebidae; Erebinae) © Joy Valencia Villafuerte-Hafalla

EREBID MOTH, Bastilla joviana (Erebidae) © Shekai Alaban

CRAMBID MOTH, Nacoleia insolitalis (Crambidae; Spilomelinae) © Shekai Alaban

AILANTHUS SILKMOTH, Samia luzonica (Saturniidae; Saturniinae) © Shekai Alaban

TUSSOCK MOTH, Unidentified Nygmiini (Erebidae; Lymantriinae; Nygmiini) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

ZYGAENID MOTH, Unidentified Zygaenidae (Zygaenidae) © Linda Alisto

TIGER MOTH, Aloa sp. (Erebidae; Arctiinae) © Evelyn Mendez

SLUG MOTH, Thosea sp. (Limacodidae; Limacodinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes

TIGER MOTH, Olepa sp. (Erebidae; Arctiinae; Spilosomini) © Jolly Ibañez

EREBID MOTH, Anomis sp. (Erebidae; Erebinae; Scoliopteygini) © Arlene E. Halabaso

CRAMBID MOTH, Omiodes sp. (Crambidae; Spilomelinae) © Romana Pahilanga Delos Reyes Host plant: Indian Tree

EREBID MOTH, Platyja sp. (Erebidae; Erebinae) © Jun Iriarte

GUAVA MOTH, Ophiusa disjungens (Erebidae; Erebinae; Ophiusini) © Arlene E. Halabaso

© 2015 Philippine Lepidoptera Butterflies and Moths, Inc.  (PhiLep)

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