Hairy moths

jhimmel at jhimmel at
Thu Aug 14 09:38:53 EDT 1997

In the second broods of Mourning Cloaks and some other butterflies that 
overwinter as adults, their bodies have long tufts of hair-like scales 
presumably to help keep them from getting too cold while they wait out the 
colder season under a loose piece of bark or shingle.  Because most moths fly at 
a time when there is less heat, might their "hairy" bodies help a species that 
can't count on the sun retain a bit more warmth for a variety of its needs?

On 11 Aug 1997, davidb at (David R. Britton) wrote:
>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?

John Himmelman, CT USA
jhimmel at

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