Thursday, July 5, 2007
Yesterday a distraught reader from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, came through on a search for information about "injured moth[s]." This weblog contributes embarrassingly little about what to do in the event that a moth, or any specimen of flying insect for that matter, is injured. I'm no credentialed physician, but I have had more than a fair share of sporting injuries: sprained ankles, jammed fingers, and limb dislocations. For those, ice packs aid with healing, best when applied for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours. But I suppose that's not especially helpful for an injured moth.
Certain cracks and cuts can be temporarily patched with super glue.
Also, I was told as a kid that damaging the fine coating of scales on a moth's wings will fatally injure it. Once a human touches the wing, the moth is pretty much fudged. Plan its funeral; it's a goner by morning. This is the way with many insects, isn't it? Typically, once injured, they die. They don't have a lot of bounce-back, not much means or opportunity for healing in their short, complex little lives.
You spy an injured moth. Another option is to be Kevorkian-merciful with it (Aside: Jack K. was released from prison early last month). End its suffering. Hurry along the inevitable. As inhumane as it might seem at first, moth death is a part of moth life. In fact, one of the stunning discoveries upon moving to our new house was that one window casing appeared to have been used as chamber for torturing moths. Sealed into the narrow space between the screen and the window pane, the moths must have struggled for hours before succumbing to their ultimate misfortunes.
I share this gruesome image not so much because I think it will be helpful for healing an injured moth; rather, I share it because it suggests that not everyone is so willing to rush to the assistance of moths-in-need that they search Google for remedies. It suggests that there are those who would stand by, letting nature run its unthinkably cruel course. That said, the final alternative I can recommend would be to call a local lepidopterist or veterinarian, prepared to describe the injury as vividly as possible.Posted by Derek Mueller at July 5, 2007 11:30 AM to Unspecified