Comparison of the Dusts of two Species of Moths from Manipur

  • Student Name: Anjali Manoj
  • College/School: CMR National PU College, ITPL, Bangalore.
  • Specimen: Two Lepidopterans (moths) belonging to different species
  • Specimen collected from: Leimakhong, Manipur and Loktak Lake, Manipur  on 2nd December, 2018
  • Specimen observed at:  CMR National PU College at ITPL, Bangalore on 6th December, 2018


On the 7th of December, I collected the dust from the wings of the moths to to a comparative study of the two moth species. Moths belong to the order Lepidoptera (which loosely translates to ‘scaly wings’) have scales present on the wings that play a role in thermoregulation. These scales may or may not be pigmented and diffract light to produce different patterns.

I collected the two moths (as seen in the pictures above) that are morphologically different. The first one had smaller eyes and a hairy body with thicker legs. The second one had big eyes and thin legs. Both of them had brown wings but with different patterns.

I obtained the dust from both moths and viewed them under the foldscope to see if there was any difference between the two. When viewed with the naked eye, the dusts appear as a metallic, silky and fine powder. But under the foldscope, the image obtained was quite the contrary.


The above image is of the dust taken from the first moth. The particle are narrow with sharp edges.


The above image is of the dust taken from the second moth. The particles are larger with jagged edges.

Moth dust is usually of the size range of a few microns. They are allergens and could result in severe reactions if inhaled especially skin irritations and respiratory distress.

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