What is the Purpose of Moths

With over 160,000 moth species estimated globally, these insects play a huge role in the environments they inhabit. They are a diverse family of insects, from the colossal Atlas moth to the tiny pygmy sorrel moth.

Besides this diversity, moths also play a significant ecological role as nighttime pollinators, a food source for other animals, and the increase or decline in their population can provide context for changing environmental conditions.

As pollinators

Moths tend to pollinate flowers with dull colors and a tendency to remain open during the late afternoon or evening. The flowers preferred include gardenia, morning glory, tobacco, and yucca.

Compared to birds and bees, moths tend to cover greater distances, increasing diversity. This means moths will pollinate more plants than daytime pollinators.

As a food source

While birds and bats feed on every stage of the moth’s life cycle, they are not the only ones. Mammals like raccoons, skunks, and even bears will feed on moths. Other predators include reptiles like lizards, amphibians like frogs and toads, spiders, and insects like ants, beetles, and hornets.

As an ecological indicator

Insects like moths act as indicator organisms for changes in our surroundings. As a diverse group, rise and fall in specific moth populations can indicate several environmental factors such as climate change, deforestation, and habitat fragmentation.