Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Idioms, Wikipedia.


any of the large and varied group of insects which, along with the butterfliesbutterfly,
any of a large group of insects found throughout most of the world; with the moths, they comprise the order Lepidoptera. There are about 12 families of butterflies. Most adult moths and butterflies feed on nectar sucked from flowers.
..... Click the link for more information.
, make up the order Lepidoptera. The moths comprise the great majority of the 100,000 species of the order, and about 70 of its 80 families.

The adult moth, like the butterfly, has sucking mouthparts, two compound eyes, and two pairs of wings that function as a single pair and are covered with flattened, dustlike scales. It is distinguished from butterflies by its stouter, usually hairy body and its unknobbed, often feathery antennae. Most moths are nocturnal in their habits, while butterflies are mostly diurnal. A moth flattens its wings against the surface on which it is resting, while most butterflies hold them vertically.

Moths range in size from species with a wingspread of 1-6 in. (2 mm) to the Atlas moth with a wingspread of 10 in. (25 cm). Many are protectively colored to match their backgrounds: their patterns may exactly resemble, for example, certain lichens or the bark of certain trees. Many others have large, eyelike markings on the hind wings that are thought to frighten potential predators.

Moths undergo a complete metamorphosis (see insectinsect,
invertebrate animal of the class Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda. Like other arthropods, an insect has a hard outer covering, or exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed legs. Adult insects typically have wings and are the only flying invertebrates.
..... Click the link for more information.
), from egg through larva and pupa to adult. Moth larvae, or caterpillarscaterpillar
, common name for the larva of a moth or butterfly. Caterpillars have distinct heads and are segmented and wormlike. They have three pairs of short, jointed legs (retained in the adult) on the thorax; in addition, they have unjointed, fleshy appendages, called
..... Click the link for more information.
, are wingless and wormlike, with a row of simple eyes on either side of the body. They have chewing mouthparts and feed on leaves or other plant material. Many do great damage, such as that of the bee mothbee moth,
 greater wax moth,
or honeycomb moth,
common name for an insect pest of honeycombs. Bee moths do damage during their larval stages, injuring combs and honey.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the codling mothcodling moth
, small moth, Carpocapsa pomonella, whose larva is the destructive apple worm. Of European origin, it is now found wherever apples are grown. The adult moth is gray with brown markings and has a wingspan of about 3-4 in. (1.8 cm). The 3-4-in.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the gypsy mothgypsy moth,
common name for a moth, Lymantria dispar, of the tussock moth family, native to Europe and Asia. Its caterpillars, or larvae, defoliate deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. Introduced from Europe into Massachusetts c.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the clothes mothclothes moth,
name for several species of moths of the family Tineidae, whose larvae feed on wool, furs, feathers, upholstery, and a variety of animal products. Clothes moths are of Old World origin.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and the cutwormcutworm,
name for the larvae of many moths of the family Noctuidae (owlet moths). These larvae, or caterpillars, feed at night on the stems and roots of young plants, often cutting them off near the surface of the ground. They hide in soil by day.
..... Click the link for more information.

The pupa of most moths is protected by a cocoon, built by the larva just before pupating. The cocoon is often made wholly or largely of silk; the cocoon of the domesticated silkwormsilkworm,
name for the larva of various species of moths, indigenous to Asia and Africa but now domesticated and raised for silk production throughout most of the temperate zone. The culture of silkworms is called sericulture.
..... Click the link for more information.
 moth is the source of commercial silk. Some moths make a cocoon of bits of wood or of a leaf, glued together with silk; some pupate underground. During pupation the body form changes to that of the winged adult.

Most adult moths feed on the nectar of flowers, and many plants depend on them for pollination. The short-lived adults of certain species do not eat at all. Among the large and beautiful moths of North America are the cecropia moth, largest of the E United States, and the pale green luna moth.

Moths are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
..... Click the link for more information.
, class Insecta, order Lepidoptera.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a moth?

Moths live in darkness but are attracted by light. An answer to a condition or a problem that the dreamer has been “kept in the dark” about may be revealed and “brought into the light.”

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(invertebrate zoology)
Any of various nocturnal or crepuscular insects belonging to the lepidopteran suborder Heteroneura; typically they differ from butterflies in having the antennae feathery and rarely clubbed, a stouter body, less brilliant coloration, and proportionately smaller wings.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


“handful of wit”; Armado’s “pretty knavish page.” [Br. Lit.: Love’s Labour’s Lost]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


any of numerous insects of the order Lepidoptera that typically have stout bodies with antennae of various shapes (but not clubbed), including large brightly coloured species, such as hawk moths, and small inconspicuous types, such as the clothes moths
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A moth is not very attractive, desirable, or known for many positive attributes. There is the story of a moth being attracted to the flame, which got too close to the flame and was destroyed. The moth in your dream may be pointing out a personal weakness or may be bringing to light a deception in your life. It could be suggesting that you are being led to a place where you will be hurt unless you recognize the danger. Since dreams are very rarely literal, the danger could be emotional or psychological, rather than physical.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
ONE of Wales' rarest moths has been seen in the Brecon Beacons National Park for the first time in 100 years, wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation can reveal.
For example, the first black peppered moth was recorded in Manchester in 1848 and by 1895 98 per cent of the city's peppered moths were black.
However the moth has been found at four other raised bogs in Ceredigion, including Cors Caron, and another site in south Cumbria.
"People may think of a few times a large moth has startled them and then write them off as annoying or unnecessary; that is wholly unfair," he said.
WASHINGTON:The fur on the thorax of some moths absorbs the sound waves emitted by bats and their sonar systems, making them harder to detect, according to new research by scientists at Bristol University in England.
While the behavior may look harmless, Moraes suggested it may affect the birds negatively since they are not getting anything back from the moth. He said lachryphagy 'may decrease the fitness of [a] target animal by increasing the chance of ocular diseases.'
Slowly and quietly approach flowers where moths might be sipping nectar.
Wondering why you keep spotting moths hanging out on your walls or fluttering around your wardrobe, and - importantly - when to worry and what to do about them?
RIP Ronaldo's Moth. The world's most famous footballing insect has died after a long and illustrious career.
"There are two basic categories of moths," says Dr Chris Terrell-Nield, entomologist at Nottingham Trent University.
Slowly the darker moths survive and their children and grandchildren become better and better protected.