Hairy moths

David R. Britton davidb at
Sun Aug 10 20:13:39 EDT 1997

In article <f4pR+CAgZx6zEwVs at>, "h."
<h at> wrote:

> 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?
> --
> h.

from your post it is not clear whether you are talking about hairlike
scales, microtricha, or the specialised organ called the chaetosema which
occurs near the antenna and eye on the head.  The chaetosema looks like a
circular raised patch of cuticle with large setae (hairs) radiating from
it.  The function of this organ is not established, although the anatomy
has been well studied.

Give us a bit more detail and see if we can help.


David R. Britton, Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong
Wollongong, NSW, Australia, 2522.
Ph.(61-42) 21 3436,Fax.(61-42) 21 4135

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