Do Spiders Turn Into Moths?
Are spiders actually turning into moths? The answer is yes, but only in rare cases. Researchers have discovered that some species of moths, called Brenthia, mimic the behavior of jumping spiders.
Some biologists believe that moths with eye spots may intimidate smaller spiders. They may also confuse predators. They can be a good way for scientists to study predator mimicry.
Brenthia moths have hindwings that move in a jumping spider’s style. They also have beaded eyes and contorted wings. This poses a problem for jumping spiders, who may be confused by the moth’s jerky leaps.
The metalmark moth (Brenthia scutatrix) is another species that has eyespots. It has black beaded eyes and contorted wings that resemble jumping spiders. However, other moths are not thought to be jumping spider mimics.
To test this, Shen-Horn Yen, a researcher at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, studied mimicry in jumping spiders and moths.
Shen-Horn Yen examined four different species of Brenthia. She compared the glue droplets on the wing scales of both types of insects. The spiders used a special glue that soaks under the wing scales and locks them together. The moths used glue with a runny texture, but the glue spread out slightly on the wing surface.
Researchers tested the importance of a moth’s peacock posture. They also measured the strength of the globules on the silk. They found that painting over the moth’s eyespots decreased the charade’s effectiveness.
The researcher also recorded the behavior of spiders when introduced to a Brenthia moth. She found that the spiders moved closer to the moth and pounced when they caught the moth. They then released the moth.