Adult Moth (Technically Called An Imago)
This is the last stage and where we see the moth flying around. But first, the adult moth has to get itself out of its cocoon, and that’s really tricky!
At first it will have a bloated abdomen and shrivelled wings. It has to pump a blood like substance into its wings to get them up to full size, so it can fly. When it first emerges, the adult moth will be wet, so it has to dry before it can fly. This all takes a few hours.
Take a look at this incredible video of a female Emperor Moth emerging from her cocoon!
The purpose of adult moths is to mate. Often the male finds the female by following a scent she gives off ( called a pheromone). The male detects this using his antennae , which can be incredibly sensitive - he can locate her from up to 2 miles away!
Depending on the species, adult moths can live from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. In some rare cases, adult moths can live for 8-10 months. But most moths won’t live till old age. We will look at why shortly and also how moths try to camouflage themselves. The female moths die off shortly after laying their eggs, thus completing the life cycle and starting it all over again.
For more information on the moth’s life cycle Butterfly and Moth Lifecycles PDF (from Munching Caterpillars).
This is part of the Moths and Caterpillars information.