Hairy moths

Chris Raper triocomp at
Sun Aug 10 09:53:57 EDT 1997

On Fri, 8 Aug 1997 13:51:44 +0100, "h." <h at>

>Apologies if this is too elementary. I was looking at a moth the other
>night with my stereomicroscope and was astonished to find it covered in
>a really thick layer of 'hair'. I wonder what the function of this is -
>it must impose considerable aerodynamic drag. It was also well clear of
>the eye and antennae, and I wondered whether it might have the function
>of a signat shield, to shield the sensillae from spurious signals from
>the moth's body/flight muscles. Can anyone elighten me, please?

Interesting thought. I always thought it was to keep the flight
muscles warm and prolong activity in cool periods.  :-\ ?  Night
flying moths usually have more hair on their thorax than day flying

I read once that insect's wing muscles have to reach an amazingly high
temperature before they ar capable of sustained flight. This explains
why their bodies are usually dark coloured.

You are right about the drag factor though - it must be a tricky
balance between opposing factors.

Chris R.

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