no functional mouthparts, short lifespans

DR. JAMES ADAMS jadams at
Mon Nov 16 14:42:38 EST 1998


         As adults, there are numerous moth species with no 
functional mouthparts (though some species do have certain parts 
still visible [labial palps, etc.]).  These include all Giant Silk 
Moths (Saturniidae), though they eat so much as larvae that they 
frequently last up to two weeks (sometimes more) on the nutrients 
they stored up as larvae.  Also in this group is the also large
Great Poplar Sphinx Moth (Pachysphinx modesta/occidentalis).

        As for species living only one to a few days as adults, this 
is certainly true for some of the very small moth species, though I 
am not as knowledgeable as to which species have functional 
mouthparts and which don't.  Yucca moths, for instance, live rarely 
more than two days as adults in the lab, and I don't believe they 
actually feed on anything during that time, though I believe they do use the 
mouthparts to collect Yucca pollen to fertilize the flower in which 
they are going to lay their eggs.  Perhaps it is something along 
these lines that you read about, Michelle?



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