We never see moths in the winter and, as we all know, there are no flowers blooming during the winter so what do moths do during the winter to survive?
As a whole, moths survive the winter in their pupal form burrowed underground or hidden under leaf litter. But some moth species also survive the winter hidden under leaves as eggs where they are protected against the frost. They will either hatch or develop into moths in spring.
Moths have been around for longer than humans have on this earth which means they developed their own little tricks to survive whatever nature is throwing at them. Moths and butterflies both survive the winter very similarly.
You can read more about how butterflies survive the winter right here as I will only explain what moths do during the colder days in this article.
How Moths Survive the Cold
It depends on the species of the moth and where they live but most moths survive the winter in their pupal state.
They will either burrow underground, hide under dead leaves, or hide under tree bark to survive the winter.
Here they will hibernate the whole winter until the first warm days in summer. During hibernation, they won´t move at all and they will shut down or slow down almost all of their body functions to conserve energy.
As soon as it gets warmer the moth will wake up and develop into a fully grown moth from its pupal state.
Some moth species also survive the winter as eggs. The eggs will also be hidden under dead leaves or underneath tree bark or similar dead organic matter where they are protected against the cold and against frost as well as possible.
These moth eggs will hatch in early spring and develop into fully grown larvae during the spring.
There are also some rare moth species that will survive the winter in their larvae form.
They will also hide under leaves or burrow underground and stay there throughout the winter days.
As soon as it gets warmer the moth will wake up and search for food. It has to eat quickly and lots of plant matter so that it can develop into a moth.
What Is The Life Span of a Moth?
The moth has several stages that it goes through in its live. It starts as an egg, which hatches into a larvae. Then when the larvae is big enough it will develop into a pupae and finally after a while the flying moth will emerge.
As a whole, the life span of a moth is between 4 weeks and 6 months. Most moths hibernate in their pupae or egg form during the winter and if you take that time into account then the moth will live for even longer than that.
Most moths that we know and encounter every day have a live span of around 3 to 4 months.
The short lived moths are usually living in warmer regions where the winter isn´t as harsh while the longer living species are usually living in colder regions.
While this is true for most moths there are obviously esceptions!
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂