Vampire moths are real. The vampire moth belongs to the genus Calyptra, which is contained within the subfamily Calpinae of the family Erebidae. This genus also belongs to the Calpine tribe. Eight species have been reported as vampires to other mammals, including humans, in the wild, and two, Calyptra fletcher and C. calyptroides, feed exclusively on human blood.
The vampire moths belonging to this genus are small, with a wingspan ranging from 20 to 35 mm in size. The head is small and round with yellow patches on either side of it, and there is a pair of long antennae that are pectinate. The forewings are distinctly pointed at their apex and have a variable pattern but usually have markings resembling eyespots on them. The hindwings are usually orange with dark borders and sometimes a pale patch in the middle of them.
The larvae of these moths feed on plants such as cabbage, radishes, spinach, and other vegetables belonging to the Cruciferae family. They can cause extensive damage to crops if they are not controlled by spraying pesticides or introducing natural predators such as wasps into the crop fields.
What happens if a vampire moth bites you?
Vampire moths are found in Central Asia, Russia, and Siberia. They feed on the blood of animals, including humans.
These moths have a straw-like projection on their mouth that lets them penetrate and enter human skin, puncturing it back and forth until blood is accessible. This process is the same one mosquitoes employ to suck blood.
The moths don’t actually feed on blood; instead, they drink it because they are unable to get nutrients from their food. A painful bite can produce some slight discomfort like redness and soreness around the wound.
Vampire moths are not poisonous or venomous, but the bite can become infected if not cared for properly. The best way to treat a vampire moth bite is to clean it with soap and water and apply an antiseptic cream or lotion.
Are vampire moths in America?
Vampire moths are a species of moth from Europe and other regions of the world. Despite their name, they are not found in the Americas, including North America.
One species of moths native to North America is called Calyptra thalictri. This species does not drink blood, but it has a mouth similar to that of the vampire moth.
In sum, since the discovery of Calyptra and its relationship to the evolution of other moths, we have learned that vampire moths are not only real, but their evolution is likely due to the prevalence of bats among their natural predators.