clothes moth paranoia continued

Liz Day lday at
Tue Jul 14 00:00:50 EDT 1998

Doug Yanega wrote:

> Actually, here in Brazil, people do not seem to expect moths to eat
> clothes, but what they DO think is that all hairy caterpillars cannot be
> touched. Given that a few people die almost every year in Brazil from
> contact with Lonomia larvae, it's an understandable thing for them to be
> ultra-cautious 

They DIE?  I'm not familiar with this species/genus.

> than the "All moths eat clothes" myth. The oddest thing about the latter is
> how *few* people ever have their clothes eaten any more, since the advent
> of artificial fibers. I think I have seen ONE genuine clothes moth in my
> life...yet the myth refuses to die.

Oh, I can tell you why it doesn't.  Because a lot of old people, who HAVE
had their clothes eaten, have indoctrinated their kids, who have had no
experiences that contradict this idea. It seems to me that most people
stop learning things after a certain age, or at least refuse to unlearn or
relearn things that are no longer true.  The world changes too fast for

I have never seen a clothes moth either.  Dermestids, on the other
hand..... shouldn't there be childhood warnings about these?


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