Project Noah Fun Fact: the Bella moth

For every day of National Moth Week, our partner, citizen science website Project Noah will be featuring a fun fact about a species of moth.

From Project Noah:

Bella moth (Utetheisa ornatrix) spotted in USA by PN user LivanEscudero.

The Bella moth (Utetheisa ornatrix) has a very interesting biology. It’s larvae feed on members of the genus Crotalaria, often known as rattlepods. These plants are poisonous and as a result, the moths are poisonous in all stages of life. In fact, while the moth is mating, the male doesn’t only transfer sperm, it also transfers additional alkaloids (a poisonous substance) so the female can lay the eggs coated in poison so they are protected from predators. While Florida has always had native species of Crotalaria, some introduced species are posing ecological problems and this moth is helping to regulate the populations of these non-native, potentially destructive, plants.

You can participate in the global citizen science project National Moth Week! National Moth Week 2015 is July 18-26. Visit the website for more information and be sure to register a public or private event! An event can be as simple as observing the moths that come to a porch. During NMW, be sure to post your photos to our website and add them to the National Moth Week mission, Moths of the World!


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