Project Noah Fun Fact: mud-puddling

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

From Project Noah:

Green Urania moth (Urania leilus) spotted in Ecuador by PN user KarenSaxton.

Many lepidopterans (butterflies and moths) engage in an interesting behavior known as mud-puddling, in which those with functioning mouthparts, or proboscices (some moths have vestigial proboscices, while others have no proboscis at all) aggregate by mud, feces, fruit, or a carcass to suck up the nutrients in these substances. Many entomologists (scientists who study insects) believe that this is a way to fulfill nutrient needs that nectar doesn’t provide, such as sodium. Puddling is often an all male activity, and the sodium uptake can be explained when the male supplies the female with sodium during mating. (Bogs and Johnson 1991, and Molleman 2009)

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!

References:

http://web.stanford.edu/group/CCB/Pubs/Boggs_pdfs/1991%20Boggs%20&%20Jackson%20puddling.pdf

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1570-7458.2009.00938.x/full

 

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