RESEARCH: Male moths make perfume to attract females

Male moths make perfume to attract females, say scientists in a new study in July 2023.

The male Tobacco Budworm Moth (Chloridea virescens) collects perfume – a sweet-smelling chemical – from flowers and emits the scent from its appendages when it courts a female. The perfume makes the male more attractive to the female. 

Previously, scientists knew that the female moth released scented chemicals to lure a male from long distances to come closer to her, but less was known how the male moth used scent.

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Puss Moth

The Puss Moth (Cerura vinula) is an insect in the Notodontidae family of moths.

The Puss Moth is creamy-white to yellowish-grey with light-brown lines and markings. The female has blackish lines and markings. It has a wide whitish-grey head, thorax, and abdomen that are very fluffy, like a hairy cat. 

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Tau Emperor Moth

The Tau Emperor Moth (Aglia tau) is an insect in the Saturniidae family of emperor and royal moths. 

The Tau Emperor Moth has large, lobed wings. It is brightly coloured, usually orange to brown with a large eye-spot on each of its four wings. It is a distinct marginal line across each wing. The hind wings (back wings) overlap the forewings (front wings). Its body is wide and hairy. It has feathery antennae. 

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Silk Moth

The Silk Moth (Bombyx mori) is an insect in the Bombycidae family of silk moths. 

The Silk Moth has a heavy, bristly body and small wings. It is fair to light brown with thin dark bands across its body. Its wings are cream-coloured. It is not capable of sustained flight – it is only airborne for a short time.

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White Plume Moth

The White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactylus) is an insect in the Pterophoridae family of moths.

The White Plume Moth is white – with white wings and a white body. Each of its hind (back) wings is divided into three thin feathery plumes. Each of its front wings is divided into two thin feathery plumes. It looks like it has five feathery fingers on each side of its body. It has long white antennae and white legs.

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Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) is not a bird. It is a moth from the Sphingidae family. It looks like a tiny hummingbird because it hovers around plants.

The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth has brown forewings, with black wavy lines across them, and the hindwings are orange with a black edge. The abdomen is quite broad, with a short fan-tail of setae (fine hairs) at the end. It has a long proboscis (sucking nose), which it inserts into flowers to suck up the nectar. Its antennae are very feathery. Like a hummingbird, it makes a slight humming sound.

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