Are moths pollinators?
Yes. Moths are important pollinators. Moths are nocturnal and they use their long proboscis to drink nectar from flowers. Some moths prefer moonflowers and evening primrose. Other moths like night-blooming jasmine and honeysuckle.
Moth pollination is very similar to butterfly pollination, although moths are more likely to visit flowers at night than butterflies are. Some moths have coevolved with nocturnal flowers that have evolved to attract moths by producing odors that mimic moth pheromones or rotting flesh. Adult moths often feed on nectar from flowers, and their pollination services are required by some plant species, such as Yucca spp., which depend on moths for reproduction.
Special pollinating moths:
Hawkmoths are some of the largest moths in the world. They are important pollinators for plants like tobacco, potatoes, tomatoes, and petunias.
Hummingbird moths have a proboscis that is as long as the hummingbird’s beak. Their wings beat rapidly so they look like hummingbirds when flying from flower to flower feeding on nectar at dusk and dawn.
Sphinx moths (also called hawk moths) are strong fliers that are able to hover over flowers like hummingbirds do as they feed on nectar with their long tongues or proboscis.
Do moths pollinate things?
At night, moths serve as substitutes for daytime pollinators and target nocturnal flowers with pale or white flowers and flowers heavy with fragrant nectar for their pollination. There are, in fact, a few day-active moths as well as nocturnal ones.
The overwhelming majority of butterflies are diurnal species: they are active during the day and rest at night. A much smaller percentage of moths are also diurnal; these tend to be species that hide by day (such as some geometrid moths) and fly at dawn or dusk. Some diurnal species have warning coloration (such as the monarch butterfly) which serves to advertise the fact that they taste bad to predators. Diurnal moths may also have brightly colored wings like their butterfly counterparts.
Do moths pollinate more than bees?
A new study found that moths pollinate more flowers than bees, which is important for the health of our ecosystems.
The research, which was led by ecologist Lúcia Gargaço and published in the journal Functional Ecology, was conducted in Portugal.
Moths are generally nocturnal, so they have to rely on different senses than bees. Bees have better eyesight, but moths have a better sense of smell and touch. Moths also can go out in wet weather while bees can’t. The Portuguese researchers found that moths pollinate many more flowers than bees — their methods involved placing a type of moth called the “hummingbird hawk-moth” on top of a flower and letting it fly away. It landed on enough flowers to know that the moth is a very efficient pollinator.
The conclusion was that moths are pollinators, they do drink nectar and they drink it from a variety of flowers, some of which only bloom at night. Moths love the moonflower and the evening primrose, but you will see them elsewhere as well.