Alien Moth! Alien Moth!

Posted: July 9, 2019 in Animals, Interesting Photos, Nature, Things I Love, WTF?
Tags: , ,

Actually it’s a moth from Southeast Asia that’s inflating scent glands from its butt, but still. Nature, man. Just messing with us per usual. On a related note, Good God.

PS- It’s preparing for its mate. Yep, that’ll get the ladies.

PPS- If you want all the fascinating details regarding this bad boy, read below the photos.

Newsweek- Creatonotos gangis is a species of moth that lives in Southeast Asia and parts of Australia. Most of the time it looks like a normal moth with white and black wings and a red or yellow body. It’s in the Eribidae family of moths, which includes some of the largest moth species.

But when preparing to mate, four tubular, translucent scent glands, or coremata, inflate like balloon animals from his behind.

Some male moths and butterflies have these coremata, or “hair-pencils.” They use them to expel pheromones to attract mates, and the hairs waft the smell toward the females. WIRED wrote a detailed analysis of these odd organs. You can also learn more about the weird body parts of moths and butterflies in this Powerpoint slideshow (PDF), complete with macro photos.

Comments on the video of C. gangis, which six days after posting has more than 200,000 shares, express fear and confusion at this strange creature’s inflating organs which are each about the length of the rest of his body. The behavior is confusing and makes it look a bit like a sinister alien. But the animal is harmless, as long as you don’t eat too many of them.

When C. gangis is just a caterpillar, before it has transformed into its mothy self, it eats plants with alkaloid chemicals. These plants evolved toxicity to discourage insects from eating them, but the caterpillars bit back evolutionarily—in fact, it’s necessary for them to eat the toxic plants in order to grow these glands as moths. The more toxins they eat, the bigger their hair-pencils ultimately will be. These toxins also have the added benefit of making them taste terrible.

Gimme a holler.

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